Classroom Management Strategies
that Support a Literate Classroom
Classroom management involves the organizational and decision-making skills
teachers use to create a climate that encourages learning. Teachers exhibit
strong management skills when they assess students learning and plan
instruction based on their needs.
All class members must be engaged in meaningful literacy activities.
To facilitate a literate classroom with guided reading groups, the first
challenge for teachers is organizing the classroom. Students must be able to
work in a focused way in small clusters. A question teachers often ask is,
"What do I do with the rest of the children while I'm teaching the small
While the teacher focuses on small guided reading groups, the other students
are working in reading and writing centers. Create an environment that is
clear and uncluttered, set up centers and consider
Ease of traffic flow
Use of materials
Management during guided reading is critical. The teacher must establish an
organized, predictable environment and teach children to use it. The
following steps are suggested as one method of creating a management plan
that supports a balanced literacy program.
Looking at your class list, construct three or four workgroups.
All students in the class are included in a work group.
Students in each group can work well together.
Groups are diverse.
Groups are heterogeneous in terms of reading and writing ability.
Groups are not too large to begin their work in one center or area.
Grouping for Centers
Design an organizational chart that accounts for groups and activities. At
first you may start with only two activities. Be sure to consider the
Groups are working on different activities.
All activities involve some kind of literacy.
Activities do not disrupt guided reading groups.
There is some opportunity for students to make choices.
There is a balance of reading and writing tasks. ·
Implement your plan over a three-week period. During the first week, teach
the routines. During the next two weeks, begin meeting with the guided
Setting Up Your Classroom
Classroom setup can dramatically affect students' attitudes toward and habits
of learning. Students need an environment that is organized, stimulating, and
comfortable in order to learn effectively. Creating such an environment
entails arranging a practical physical layout, supplying diverse materials
and supplies, and encouraging students to have a sense of belonging and
Tips for Getting Started:
Ask students where they think the different learning centers should go.
Let students help to define what behavior is appropriate for each learning
Help students learn how to behave appropriately by role-playing and
practicing with them.
Post procedures for learning centers where students can refer to them.
Arranging the Learning Centers
Take the physical features of your classroom into account when planning. As
the year progresses, you can add different kinds of learning centers to fit
the evolving needs of your class.
Keep computers facing away from windows to keep glare from sunlight off the
Use bookshelves to isolate different areas.
Provide comfortable seating.
Save space by using walls for posters, display shelves, books, and supplies.
Build a loft to save space while creating a private spot for independent
Separate learning centers of high activity, such as the cross-curricular
center, from areas like the reading center, where students need quiet.
Set aside an area to meet with small groups. Allow enough seating for about
Arranging the Whole-Group Area
Make sure that all students will have an unrestricted view of the chalkboard.
Consider using a rug to mark off the area if you have primary-grade
Consider the whole-group activities that are required to determine how to
arrange students’ desks. Keep in mind that arranging desks in a circle
promotes discussions and small clusters of desks can double as small-group
Your desk should be out of the way, but in an area where you can view the
entire classroom. Set aside an off-limits zone for your records and supplies.
For whole-class lessons-this includes informal discussion, direct
instruction, and student presentations. This is a good place for an Author's
Chair from which students can read their writing to the class.
Here you can give small-group instruction or allow groups of students to
gather for peer-led discussions.
This is a place for students to read independently or quietly with a partner.
It should provide comfortable seating, a variety of books, and a quiet,
Here students write independently and collaboratively. The area should
contain comfortable space for writing and a variety of supplies.
Cross-Curricular Center -also called Science, math, social studies, or art center
This is an active center where students explore relationships across
different curricula, including literature, science, social studies, art, and
This area is for computer use in writing, math, reading, keyboard practice,
research, telecommunications, and creative games.
Creative Arts Center
This area is where students can get involved in visual art and dramatic play.
It should have a variety of art supplies, costumes, and props.
Communication Area/Post Office
This area has mail slots for students and teacher to exchange written
messages and suggestions.
Here students listen to tapes of books, stories, songs, and poems.