Learning Environment

insect project - collaborative research

2nd grade students reading together, researching insects for LA/Science Project, St. Ignatius, 2004

My Classroom Learning Environment

I strive to use resources, routines, and procedures to provide a respectful, positive, safe, student-centered environment that is conducive to learning. My goal is to create a dynamic learning environment that maximizes learning opportunities and minimizes disruptions within an environment in which students self-monitor behavior. I am a big fan of TRIBES and love using their community agreements and inclusion activities which you will see below.

My philosophy of classroom management is to form strong relationships with students, but also to be firm, consistent and fair. I always treat students with respect, and I believe most behaviors can be changed when we look at the root of the problem, listen to students and come up with a solution to the problem. Each situation and each student is unique. I strive to form close relationships with all of my students. I have had a lot of success using class behavior plans with specific rewards and consequences that are clear and consistent.  Also, I have seen equal success using individualized behavior plans which emphasize positive reinforcement and rewards for demonstrating target behaviors but have clear consequences for not demonstrating target behaviors, used with extremely challenging students.

What is TRIBES?

Community Agreements

Almost all classroom rules fall under these 4 categories:



*Appreciation (No Put Downs)


Community Agreements (illustrated & signed by students):

community agreements tribes


community agreements signed


TRIBES Inclusion Activity:

TRIBES inclusion activity

More TRIBES activities and info…



Class Jobs:

Classroom Job Chart



Outdoor Education Retreat, EARJ, 2011

NR2 puzzle pieces teamwork

1st grade students reading together, researching insects for LA/Science Project, St. Ignatius, 2004

insect project - collaboration 2nd grade

5th grade students working in groups on a project to find adjectives in the real world (menus/advertisements):


Kindergarten students writing in their journals:

Year 2 class pics - collage

Use of manipulatives and cooperative groups to enhance learning in Math, 4th graders, EARJ, 2012

math-hands-on fractions


Use of audio/video equipment & student whiteboards to enhance learning at EARJ, 2011

audio video

Using SMART Board to diagram the digestive system in pairs, EARJ:

using technology in science hands-on

Using the SMART Board to learn about area and perimeter in Math:


Using voice recording software to record reading aloud, student listens to playback with headphones and records again (best out of 3 is saved for teacher to keep as reading fluency sample)



I also believe in giving students an opportunity to write freely about topics that interest them outside of the curriculum. This gives them a chance to practice their writing skills as well as gain practice using technology for an authentic audience. A blog is the perfect platform to allow students to create posts and comment on each other’s posts. Of course, all posts and comments are moderated by the teacher.

My Class Writing Blog:



Using Google Docs:

Using Google Docs to correct student writing and also to work on collaborative writing scripts such as class plays.


Buddy Reading – 6th grade with 2nd grade, EARJ

Pairing older students with younger students is MAGICAL…

buddy reading girls

buddy reading 6th with 1st grade



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