Don’t speak when someone else is speaking.
Treat others the way you want to be treated.
Listen to others’ opinions.
Have your own mind.
Step up, step down.
Respect different thoughts.
Work together/everyone participate.
Don’t be a pessimist.
No drugs or alcohol.
Don’t give up.
Students authored and signed the Constitution on the first day of Brown Summer High School. It became an integral part of our classroom environment even when the tape that adhered it to the wall occasionally gave way and the respected document found itself on the floor. We referred to the Constitution when jokes became insensitive; we reminded the students of what they agreed on when we monitored discussions; and we required that the students abide by the rules of the Constitution during the final debate. The Constitution was a truly living and real document in History 5B, and we believe it helped us greatly during many activities we did in the course of the class. The one pictured above, for instance, pertains to the Civil Rights Movement and experientially illustrates that "separate is inherently unequal." We distributed drinking straws and stirrers to the students, arbitrary deciding who will get a straw and who will get a stirrer. Then we asked the students to breathe through it for a minute, allowing them to stop the activity if it became too strenuous. Afterwards, the students were asked to describe their feelings and thoughts about segregation in their journals. To successfully engage in a learning process like this would have been impossible without a strong classroom culture, which set an explicit academic tone and ensured mutual respect. I believe this was done quite successfully with our constitution.