Tuesday, September 2, 2014

From Hopes and Dreams to Rules

One of my favorites things to do at the beginning of the school year is to have the students come up with their hopes and dreams for the school year.

It's always so interesting to see what they want to accomplish!

We use our hopes and dreams to come up with our classroom rules, which the kids are completely responsible for. I feel like this gives them ownership of the rules and the classroom.

I can't take any of the credit for this-this is all Responsive Classroom! They are amazing and I highly recommend training if you have the opportunity!

This year, I started introducing it by reading the book Big Al.
I have also used Matthew's Dream to start this off.

Before I started reading, I asked the kids to think about what Big Al's hope and dream might be.

After we figured it out (to make friends), I stopped and asked them what different things Big Al did to help he reach his goal (lots!).

We talked about how Big Al tried so many different ways to reach his goal, and that he keep trying (he persevered!), and how we should also keep trying different things.

After we finished reading and discussing, I had the students come up with their own hope and dream for the school year (and yes, I made it clear that it had to be school related :).
The next day (yes, this is a multi-day process-I've found it works out better that way, although you could do it in one day if you chose), I had them gather on the run again.

This time, I asked them to remember what their hope and dream was, and what rules they think our classroom needed to help them make this hope and dream successful.

I write down everything they read on sentence strips, and then I cut them up-which is important for the next step!

I reread the rules, and we decided that we could probably combine some.

We talked about how we could separate them, and we came up with three categories.
Then, I reread the rules again, and put them under each category.

Now for the fun part! I challenge the students to come up with one rule that can sum up all the ones underneath it.

I wrote what the students first said in red , amendments in purple and the final rule in blue.
I added in an extra rule (which I borrowed from Whole Brain Teaching), about having fun learning and keeping me happy-just to cover all my bases!

After a quick type-up, sign, and some taping, we now have a rules posted along with our hopes and dreams-after all, we wouldn't have our rules if we didn't want to reach our goals!

Smiles and Sunshine,

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