Classroom Management: Designing an Environment for Success

I recently stumbled upon this worksheet compiled by my advisor, Dr. Jessica F. Riccio; I was so excited I had to share it!

Before the school year starts:

  • Get up to speed on the courses you will be teaching, including making a list of the topics required and the topics you should not be covering as per the standards of your school, city, state, etc.
  • Become familiar with the school rules so that when you create your own classroom rules they are not in conflict.
  • Begin to outline the rules which will be non-negotiable in your classroom.
  • Begin gathering supplies for your classroom during the back to school sales (if your school is affluent enough to provide all your materials, draft a wish list).
  • Subscribe to Science News, collect and save Tuesday editions of the Science Times (a New York Time publication), and take interesting photos while on vacations and trips.

The first days of school:

  • Set up a list of positive expectations for the course and share them with your students.
  • Collect personal data from each student (index cards work well) including addresses, email, phone numbers of parents, etc. You may be surprised how much info is not current in the main office.
  • Have a method of seating students for the first day of school in mind and execute it.
  • Develop routines and stick to them for how to start class and end class (will there be a homework box? Or an attendance protocol? A summary question hand in as the bell rings? Do chairs need to be put back in place or boards erased?
  • Go over the rules and the classroom contract for grading, etc. Have the parent sign this as well. You may have to work on this with your department, depending on the school.


  • Use student names.
  • Admonish behavior, not people.
  • Say thank you.
  • Always give the benefit of the doubt, with new opportunities for success if requested.
  • Be honest, firm, and fair.
  • Be reflective of what you have said, of what the student may have meant, and of where the students are coming from emotionally, physically, and biologically.
  • Be available as much as professionally legitimate.

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