This document was originally used during one portion of a series of lessons that set up classroom expectations for the year. During this lesson, the teacher uses an unlabeled t-chart to allow students to sort a variety of words. The teacher can choose which words to include, but the idea is to include words that either describe what you would or would not want in a classroom community (i.e. want: learning, friendships, bucket fillers, safe, happy, laughter, etc; not want: hate, bullies, mean words, hitting, etc.). After a few words, the students tend to catch on to the pattern and you can label the top of the t-chart. After you sort all of the words, have a discussion about the patterns you see.
Students take ownership in WANTING these things in their own classroom!
Finally, ask students to help you pick out up to 5 of the words that are most important to your classroom community. These words can really help to define your classroom community. Write those words on the poster and put it up somewhere in your classroom as a reminder. Placing it near expectations, rules, or a think spot is often beneficial but not necessary. These important describing words can be referenced during positive and negative behavior reinforcements or even in lessons. Oftentimes they can also be used when discussing characters in a book.
I hope this lesson and poster will both help to create an inviting classroom community that will nurture love, laughter, learning, and growth! :-)
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-Sara in Second