Like most teachers, our first order of business in the classroom is to establish a solid foundation for the rest of the school year. This includes establishing a classroom community, getting to know one another, ironing out the procedures and routines of our room, figuring out our daily schedule... and learning on the fly. Let's just say, we had several "teachable moments" today on the second day of 5th grade.
My district kicked off back to school meetings by introducing six different quality tools we could implement in our classrooms in the following days. Of course, I left our meetings and started rewriting my lesson plans to start adding in some of the tools introduced. If you're interested in quality tools (i.e. plus/deltas, consensograms, affinity diagrams, etc.) click on the link here.
In previous years (four to be exact), I've used the story "The Kingdom With No Rules or Laws" to begin our conversation on classroom norms. After reading the story, students would suggest classroom norms and we would compile all of the results into a positive list, sign the document, and post it for all to see.
This year, in place of "The Kingdom..." story, we created a classroom mission statement. I began the conversation by showing students our SOTO Mission Statement - which was a conversation in itself. I'm certain none of my students were aware this "phrase" existed.
Disclaimer: This is how I chose to do this activity in my classroom, by no means am I saying this is the absolute way it has to happen. :)
|Yes! We can!|
Next, I explained to the class how we could create a classroom mission statement to simply state who we are and our purpose for the year. After handing out post-its to five different tables, I posed the following questions:
Who are we?
What will you need to do in order to be successful this year?
What can I, the teacher, do to help you be successful this year?
What should the students do in order for things to run smoothly?
How are we going to accomplish these tasks?
After about five minutes, groups shared out their responses from the post-it notes. As students were talking, I help form their thoughts into a cohesive paragraph. After a few minutes of collaborating, our classroom mission statement had been created!
Perhaps I'm biased, but my favorite part of the statement is where they asked for me to entertain them. Oh, my students! Ask and you shall receive.
To polish things off, each student took turns signing our mission statement and vowed to hold one another accountable to our classroom expectations.
It's going to be a great year!