Creating a Classroom Community:
Establishing a routine in our classroom was critical to the goal of making a safe space for all students to learn and grow. We achieved this by starting our class with a classroom constitution. We completed this activity in many steps, beginning with a classroom carousel of the four main questions, projected on a PowerPoint slide. The questions were: What can students expect from teachers? What can teachers expect from students? What can students expect from students? and How will we create an environment for learning and fun? The students rotated in groups to respond to these questions, creating a collage of ideas displayed on the wall. Once each group had a chance to respond to the four questions, group representatives presented each paper to the class, starring and underlining those which the class agreed with.
Once the students ideas were compiled, my co-teachers and I brought the papers home and compiled them into a clear and precise document, including all of the class' ideas. The next day, we provided copies of this Constitution to each student and asked them to put a + next to sentences they really liked, and a - next to those they thought should be edited. As a class we discussed these changes and then, upon agreeing on the perfect document which they would all feel comfortable signing, we revised and created that larger piece. Each student then signed their name to it the next day, allowing us a method of advising student behavior by pointing to the wall if we thought that perhaps a student was outside the lines of the Constitution expectations.