Thursday, August 29, 2013

Setting the Tone

Today was our sixth day of school.  Over the past week, we have done a lot towards establishing expectations and setting the tone for our classroom.  An important part of that is creating our social contract. I wrote about that last year here.  All classes in our school do this.  This was part of our training from Capturing Kids' Hearts.  This is the third year we have done this with children at all grade levels, and I could really see the benefit from that previous exposure.  I divided my class into small groups.  I asked four questions.

  1. How do teachers want to be treated by students?
  2. How do you want teachers to treat you?
  3. How do you want to be treated by other students?
  4. How do other students want to be treated by you?
Working together they brainstorm words that answered these questions, and what a fabulous job they did.

The more times a word was listed, the more important it is to the class.  I used  This is a great tool for this project, because the more times you enter a word, the larger the font.  Those words stand out immediately.

Everyone in the class signs the social contract.  I like to jazz this up a bit.  Since everyone had a "hand" in creating the social contract, I had them trace their hand on drawing paper.  They were to write their name on it, and make it fancy, and then decorate the hand print however they wanted to.  I got that idea from, you guessed it, Pinterest.  I had seen hand prints used as a wreath.  I wanted to see their names, so we arranged them all over the poster board.  

I am really pleased with the way this came out.  It will hang on the inside of our classroom door for the entire school year.  From time to time, I remind them of the contract we made.  This is a great tool for setting the tone to safe and productive classroom environment.

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