The students walked in the door and picked up a pencil from the basket as they
passed by it. On their way to their seats, the 3rd graders moved a magnet with
their name on it to a section of the chalkboard labeled “Present.” They put away
their materials, took out paper, and began working on the opening task that
was printed on the board. Matthew, a fifth-year teacher, moved around the
room, inquired about missing homework, and wrote some notes during the first
few minutes of class. When most of the students were done, the class went over
the morning starter activity together. The signs of organization were every-where, right down to the effortless way that materials were distributed with
just the mention of the word “baskets,” which signaled six children to go and
get baskets containing glue, crayons, and scissors for their fellow classmates.
An effective teacher plans and prepares for the organization of the classroom with the same care and precision used to design a high-quality lesson. Components of the organizational plan of a classroom include room arrangement, discipline, creating routines, and a plan to teach students how their learning environment is organized. To the extent possible, effective teachers envision what is needed to make the classroom run smoothly. A key difference between beginning and experienced educators is that the novice tends to leap into the content the first week of school, while the senior teacher focuses on creating a positive classroom climate and then works academics into that objective.
One survey of superintendents and principals indicated that a major challenge faced by new teachers is their inability to maintain control in the classroom (Johnson, 2004). All teachers—novice and experienced alike—recognize the challenges of classroom management and understand that this aspect of quality teaching is vital (Sokal, Smith, & Mowat, 2003). Experienced teachers,