This is a first and second grade combined classroom, and one of the most important things that we do together on the first day of school, one of the first lessons that we do, is thinking and talking about our community expectations, so, the kind of broad parameters for how we're going to get along and share this space for the whole year. And personally, after I've been teaching for 15 years, and I've done this in several different ways from in the beginning of my career more elaborate lists, to this point. I prefer and I think what works best is to have a very simple list of very broad expectations for the way we're going to work together. So respect is one of the primary words that we talk about and that permeates everything we do in this classroom. So, we have respect all people and we also have respect the Earth; that's one of my personal convictions, and it's also something that is a big part of the curriculum and a very topical thing that we're looking at in public school these days.
We also look at very broad things, be positive and kind, try your best every day and every way, and most importantly I think, this relates to respect, it's find out what's on the inside. Because these are such broad boundaries or broad ideas that we're looking at it's very easy as the year goes along when talking about student behaviour or things that come up I always have a frame to talk about those things with students because everything that happens in a first and second grade world has something to do with being positive, being kind, really trying to get to know someone, or showing respect, feeling respected, or not feeling respected. So I like to keep that as an umbrella because we work together on it at the start of the year and I have one of those teacher conversations with my students where I have a sense of where we're heading, I may not know the exact words but I know what the broad parameters are. I elicit that from the students and have a conversation with them where we come up with it together, and I have a lot of input into that, but they genuinely feel, and it's true, that they've come up with these ideas, we write them on the chart paper together and it becomes a very sanctified part of the whole year and something that we refer to a lot, both in academic ways and in social ways. When we talk about respect the Earth, we're talking about science a lot of them time, and when we talk about respect all people we're talking about big ideas that are in literature, we're talking about classroom management and discipline, we're talking about their peer to peer interactions, and we're also talking about my interactions with them and there's with me.
The goal of Be Positive and Kind: Thinking and Talking About Community Expectations (Virtual Tour) is to develop classroom expectations as well as build students' inquiry skills and foster the development of knowledge.
- By using clear expectations, inclusive decision-making, and collective resolution to social problems, the ideal classroom culture can be created.
- Introduce the classroom expectations in September when classroom rules and routines are being established.
- Incorporate the classroom expectations into class meetings or community circle time.