Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Respectful Classrooms

A while ago I showed you these photos

Together as a class we brainstormed some ideas of what we thought a respectful classroom would look like, sound like, and feel like (we came up with maybe a couple for each category together to get their wheels turning).

Then I had my students come up with more ideas on their own for each category.

Next they shared what they had written for each category with their group and wrote down anything more that they liked that someone in their group may have shared.

Some of my favourites that they came up with all on their own were:
- a respectful classroom feels like home
- a respectful classroom sounds like compliments (such as good job)
- a respectful classroom looks like no garbage in the sinks (I'm never in my grade 4 classroom after lunch but I guess this is an issue?)

Then I used tagxedo to make the shapes with all the words in them that the kids had written down (I left out all their silly ones like is would look like napping).  
Tagxedo is basically Wordle only the computers at school can't run Wordle (they probably just require an update of something).  The only problem I found with Tagxedo is that when you put spaces between words it considered it a new word and didn't put the 2 words together.  So for example is someone wrote down "no shouting" it would put the word "no" somewhere and "shouting" somewhere else.  Since I didn't want my students signing off that it was okay for them to shout I just got creative with capital letters.

Then we came up with a way to measure their success'.  We decided that they would fill up a jar with pennies.  Originally they were earning a penny a class but it got a little iffy because they would be mostly good but maybe not at the end which ruin their chance at a penny.  So eventually we changed it to 5 pennies in the morning and 5 pennies in the afternoon.  I usually ask them how many they feel like they earned together as a class and some of them are pretty honest (the other week I gave them just 2 for the morning because it was what they thought they deserved).

After we decided how we would measure their success' I had everyone sign off on it by writing their name on the poster.  I made sure to tell them that they did not have to sign the poster BUT that if they didn't sign it they would be hanging out in the office during our celebration since they would not be part of the earning of the celebration.

Once the jar is full we will get to celebrate their success' somehow.  

My grade 8's are doing this as well (only they are earning marbles in a cup).  One of my classes got their cup filled so I took them to play some beach volleyball and to the park to play. Then we read and did some poetry outside.  They had a great time and we still got some work done.

My grade 4 class should be getting their jar filled by the end of this week so we will have to decide on something to do.  I know they want to have a party (to celebrate my birthday and the filling of their jar but I think we will do something that won't take so long - plus my birthday isn't until July and I've told them countless times to bring my presents on the last day of school).

Has it been successful?
My grade 4 class for the most part is pretty well behaved.  But I have noticed more hands being raised and they occasionally will refer back to our poster (I think I put the poster in a not so smart spot - the back of the door - but the door is usually open so no one sees it).  

Since I will be teaching many of the same students next year I might try it again next year.  

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