A great deal of talking and reflecting has been going on in our class this week. I am sure that by clearly outlining my expectations and by carefully listening to the students ones that together we set standards by which our class will run smoothly for the year. This is something I have always done but this year we have a new name for it. Our class Essential Agreement. As I did last year we started with these questions, which were placed around the room. Our students used sticky notes to add their ideas to each poster.

• What will YOU need to do to be successful this year?
• What characteristics do you want your teacher to possess?
• Our class should be _____ every day?
• School is important because?
• What do you hope to learn this year in year 6?
• What is learning?

After a robust discussion on the various points. They joined into small groups, chose one poster and collectively agreed upon the top ten statements . After a further discussion and reflection each students turned one of those top ten into personal statements. Examples of these included:

• To be successful this year I will have to put in 100% effort into everything I do.
• This year I hope to learn how to be a better leader.
• I want my teacher to be firm but fair this year
• Students in our class should be encouraging and repectful every day.

After creating their own personal statements the students then formed into new small groups. These worked collectively to devise a statement each that would combine all their thoughts into our class essential agreement. These are some of the ideas they came up with.

• We agree to respect other opinions and to have our own.
• We will be sure to only ever be concerned with improving our own P.B.’s and never worry about marks and scores.
• We agree to co-operate and be helpful while using our initiative and common sense.
• We agree to focus and listen in class for all teachers.

Our Essential Agreement is now on the wall. We will refer to it and reflect on it often. Statements may and can be changed. Words may be added and taken away. My hope is that it will become a useful, working document which will set the tone of the year to come.

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  1. Henrietta, I think this is a great idea. You are giving them rules but allowing them to mold them in a way that it does not make them feel as though they cannot step outside of the box. It gives the students a sense of community and allows them to each have a role in how the classroom is ran. I will have to remember this activity because I would like to use it in my own classroom one day. My twitter address is @sarah_carl11 and my personal class blog URL is carlsarahedm310.blogspot.com.

  2. I think this is a fantastic way to create a sense of belonging and community in the classroom. By having the students help to generate the rules and goals, the students will be more willing to follow them. I would like to do something like this with my Pre-K 4 students; maybe we could write the mission statement together at the beginning of the year? Your blog is lovely. Thank you.

  3. Pingback: Reflection #2: Classroom Chronicles – Our Class Essential Agreement | Elizabeth Otto