Saturday, January 4, 2014

Revisiting Class Expectations for the New Year

Last week, I was inspired by Pernille Ripp's blog post titled, "Back to School - January Edition." 
In this post, Pernille lists multiple ideas teachers can try out in their classrooms after getting back to school from the winter break.  I loved the first idea to reassess classroom rules.  I always had the intention in September to revisit the class expectations that we create, but each year the time slips away and I never end up doing it. After reading her post, I decided to write it into my plans for the first day back to school after the New Year and I am so glad that I did! It was a powerful lesson and the students showed me how much they have grown as part of our classroom community and as learners.

I began the discussion, by taking down the chart created in September that listed the two expectations students thought were most important for our classroom community: Be Kind; Be Responsible.  I reminded them that these were chosen in September and now that we have been together for about 4 months and know each other as individuals, we may want to revise them.  I first gave them thinking time to reflect on the two expectations and if they felt they needed to be reworded, replaced, or added to.  After giving them a few minutes to think independently, I had them discuss with their table groups to share their thinking.  Then each table shared their thinking and I wrote their opinions on a chart for all to see during this decision making process.  Once we had some ideas listed, I repeated the process with thinking time and group discussion.  The class decided that we should have a class motto: Always try your best! Then listed below the motto, they wanted a list of examples of what we should always try our best to do in class and out of class.

So far, this is what they came up with:

Always try your best!

  • Be responsible.
  • Be kind
  • Put in 100% effort into all work
  • Have a growth mindset
This is a work in progress and it was disrupted by a snow day the following day so we will return to this reflective process on Monday.  I was so excited to see that the concept of growth mindset was brought up by the students and they felt it was important enough to add to our expectations chart! I also love that they value the power of effort and the importance to always try your personal best! This process was not only beneficial for the students but was powerful for me to watch and see how they have grown as learners and individuals so far this year.  

If you have revisited your classroom expectations or decide to try this out, please share!
Stay tuned to hear how we also set new goals for the New Year in our classroom. :)

Happy New Year! 

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