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I stopped using classroom rules and started using community agreements and I'll never go back! These agreements are editable and easy to print and display.
KIDS FEEL EMPOWERED IN OUR COMMUNITY:
I look back to the rules I once used in my own classroom and think about the feel they put on my students and our community. There was the feeling of a dictatorship there, even if they were rules we created together. Agreements provide the opportunity for students to feel empowered. They understand what it means to commit to something and there is a strong purpose in each and every agreement. They had a part in creating our agreements and understand the role that they have in keeping our classroom a place where we can grow, learn and have fun!
We create movements to go along with our agreements as we recite them throughout the day and each morning. Sometimes we need reminders about why we have agreements and how important it is that we each commit to them. When a student breaks an agreement it is an opportunity to have a conversation about the power of choice. We talk about how it is a choice to be a part of the community, but the agreements we’ve set come with that choice. The majority of the time students “choose in” because they have been given that choice. When they choose out I ask what that looks like for them and most of the time it just means a quick break to regroup or zone out for a minute or two. To “choose back in” to our community they make a conscious choice to recommit to our agreements.
Students developed these agreements. They are invested in them and understand the power that they have in keeping our community whole. We talk about the loss and the impact that it has when just one person is missing from our community. We miss out on learning opportunities and perspectives and that loss can have a long lasting impact on all of us. Students are committed to helping once another follow our agreements by supporting one another all year long! Community Agreements will change the feeling of your classroom community.