The past week and two days has been a tough one in my classroom. But, as part of SJBS we hold weekly upper school meetings to discuss any classroom problems we have or any other thing that should concern us all. This week I brought some concerns about controlling my classroom and the best suggestion I got was to vote on a set of classroom rules that the students come up with themselves. In theory, the kids will feel connected to them and follow them more closely. The trick to all of this is to subversively get the rules you, as the teacher, want in there.
I presented the classroom meeting as such:
I asked the students to all sit on the floor in a circle and raise their hands if they were ever frustrated in school, and if this frustration prevented them from learning. They all raised their hands. (I am cackling inside because my plan is working.) I asked them what bothers them in class. Then I told them we were going to make our own classroom rules and come up with them together. We brainstormed on the board about potential rules and then voted on the best and combined some because they were redundant.
It just so happened that yesterday marked the anniversary of the day on which Honduras gained its independence from Spain: Honduran Independence Day. Therefore, it seems only fitting, and entirely coincidental, that today, September 16, 2010 the Republic of Don Josh (This is what my classroom is called. I mean, after all, we do have our own currency.) wrote our classroom constitution. It reads as follows:
We the people of the Republic of Don Josh, in order to build a more perfect classroom, establish the following rules:
I. Treat people the way you want to be treated.
II. Respect people’s ideas, decisions, and things.
III. Take responsibility for yourself.
IV. Ask permission before taking.
V.No pushing in line.
VI. No tattle telling.
VII. No complaining.
VIII. No name calling.
All the signatures.

Author profile
BECA Alumni