Starting a Classroom Involving Your Students As Much As Possible
Planning and completing bulletin boards:
Within the first week of school you could have a room decorating party. This would be taking time to sit down and discuss the planning of the bulletin board theme they would like to have to represent their class. You can give the students some ideas or books to look at to give them some ideas. Sometimes the best ideas come from the students.
This cannot obviously be completely chosen by the students. There are certain things like gym, lunch, art, music, and in some schools recess. The everyday schedule can be voted on by the students. Asking the students what they would like to start their mornings with by asking, “would you rather work on out math first or science”. I think that this would be something the students could also change from day to day. I think you should ask your students. For example, “should we start reading our book together today or should we go over our home work first.”
This component of the classroom is one that cannot always be completely decided by the students. You may need a quieter area away from a loud area. Like the blocks and the library in an early education classroom. Otherwise allowing the students to set up the way they want the classroom would be a great way to create a community in the classroom. Having a group of students work together to set up the class together would be a lot of fun and an experience for the students to work together.
Utilization of technology:
I would give the students a few ideas on how we could split up computer time. I would recommend either; switching each day allowing the students to go on the computer for an hour once a week during free time, another alternative would be a half hour twice a week on the computer. I would also allow the students to suggest fair ideas that we could use to split up computer time.
Routines for turning in work and going to the bathroom:
For both of these I would allow the students to recommend ideas as well as give them ideas on how we would turn in our class work and homework and how we would have routines for going to the bathroom.
Classroom rules, classroom management and consequences for misbehavior:
This is one of the most important things for students to plan. I feel this way because the students feel more invested in the rules and following the rules if they are the ones who created them. I would have the students sit down as a large group and give ideas for rules that we should have in the classroom. I would also guide some of the rules I would want the students to say or add them if I had to. I think that it is also important for them to create the consequences because then when they do break a rule they are the ones who came up with the consequence. Not the mean teacher. It makes the whole classroom rule, rewards and consequence much better for all in the class.