Saturday, April 9, 2016

Establishing Norms

When students enter your room they must understand the norms of the classroom. How do you create norms? You should establish some norms from the first day of class. These norms are going to help you manage your classroom from the start. So, the first few days focus on establishing those norms, getting to know the students and determining what norms are necessary to help the classroom run smoothly. If you establish these norms during the first few days you will be able to jump into instruction much easier because you will have less behavioral issues to deal with in the long run.

On the first day, I explain there is only one rule in my classroom; "Be Yourself." It is from my favorite quote: "You might as well be yourself because everybody else is taken," by Oscar Wilde. As a class we brainstorm what the one rule means to them, and why that rule is important in helping us to become better learners, citizens, and individuals. We use this one rule to establish our class norms.

The first thing we do is to discuss in groups of positive experiences we have had in classes before, and those experiences which made learning more difficult. Next, we share as a whole group some of the things we feel are necessary to a positive classroom climate, which allows everyone to be who they are and to learn. Then we create a social contract as a class detailing how we treat each other. T
There are four sections to the contract.
1: How will we treat each other?
2. How will we treat the teacher?
3. How will the teacher treat us?
4. What are the consequences if we break a social contract norm?

NOTE: They must list the items with positive language, so exclude "do not","should not," and "no," from their vocabulary options.

  • Listen quietly while the teacher is talking VS Do not talk while the teacher is talking 

The students work in small groups to discuss each section. Next, we share out whole-group and create an anchor chart that stays up in the front of our room. The students each sign the contract, and we hold each other accountable.  The teacher is not the only one who can manage behavior anymore, as it becomes a classroom norm to uphold the social contract as a team. Therefore, every student has a voice, knows the norms and expectations, and is able to support our one classroom rule: Be Yourself.

In class assignment on creating social norms using technology.