Friday, January 10, 2020

Norms, Expectations, and SEL

This year I took a different approach to classroom norms and expectations (often called classroom rules, or daily expectations, etc). I created a series of promises that students and I made to each other. In August, we had a day where we discussed these expectations and agreed to work together toward these goals. You can see these in the presentation below.


After taking a course on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and giving it some consideration, I decided to do something new in January. Below is my reflection on how it went in each class and I've included some pictures of their work.

Supplies used in class

  • foam poster board (can stand on its own; is more durable)
  • markers, pencils, crayons, etc.
  • permanent marker
  • white board and markers
  • google survey
  • extra decorations:
    • shout out cutouts
    • washi tape
    • stickers
    • stamps
    • highlighters

Steps taken in each class:

  1. survey reflection on August norms/expectations
  2. brainstorm key words and phrases that are important to the class
  3. class discussion and review of norms and expectations
  4. creative design of class poster board detailing the new norms and expectations for the class. 

1st period 

First period, like I imagine most first periods to be, is relatively quiet. Students are, at best, mostly awake and, at worst, completely asleep. Many didn't eat breakfast or are panicking about a test or assignment for a later class. 

To the right, you can see the key words the class came up with. It took some prodding, but eventually
IMG: A whiteboard with multi-coloured words on it. Words are:
different, honesty, respect, community, ready to learn, kind,
responsibility, supportive, self-control, unique, productive,
safe, engaging, jokes, awake, details, considerate, open,
positive, and creative.
they started to come up and write on the board. What was key for them was seeing me write as well and include my thoughts. I wrote words like "awake", "safe", and "fun". Others wrote words like "respect", "community", and "jokes". These key words helped us come up with unique norms for 1st period. 

After discussion, the class decided on 4 detailed norms/expectations. Personally while I prefer a simpler, if longer list, this class decided to include the ideas in the details. The class did not finish creating their poster, so we will pick up on Monday. I'll post their final draft on Twitter (@miriampatrick). 

2nd period

IMG: A whiteboard with multi-coloured words on it. Words are:
democracy, be fun, be fye as frick, Latin, positive, lit, be nice,
happiness, games, no communism, share, no cussing, no bugs,
don't be wack yo, open minded, respect, talking, diplomacy,
communication, listen to each other, and clean.
My second period class is smaller than my first, but also a Latin II class. While these students are certainly more awake, they can also be very quiet. That being said, when given the opportunity to fill the board, every single one of them came up and started writing almost immediately. They engaged in conversation much more openly and quickly than my first period, but this fits their general personalities and relationships with each other. This class enjoys joking with each other and some of the words on their board reflected that conversation.

This class also used a lot of colloquial language and inside jokes that are unique to their community. Words like fye, frick, wack, lit, and even communism have unique meanings to this group of students. While these words did not necessarily make it into their list of norms and expectations, they were an important part of our discussion and their desires. Fye and frick together refer to engaging and participation. Wack refers to respect, communication, and kindness. Communism is obviously a reference to current situations and expresses students desires to be unique, individual, and open. Similarly, however, they also recognised that sharing and equity were also very important and that this space belongs to us all and we need to work together to create and good space.
IMG: a white poster board with brightly coloured rules (listed
in blog) entitled Class Norms. 

This class came up with 7 unique rules. (1) Listen to each other. (2) Be open to what others have to
say. (3) Everyone has their own voice. (4) Participate to the BEST of your ability. (5) Respect the classroom space. (6) Leave the room better than you came! (7) Leave your issues at the door.

3rd Period

My 3rd period is a Latin I class with a vocabulary unique to them; so much so that I had to ask what a few words meant. This class is large and vocal. There a quite a few students who needed a gentle reminder that this was an activity that required their individual and serious participation. Once we go into discussion, however, we came up with a wide variety of things that all centered around creating family. This class, as negative as they can each be about anything, really want to be a family. This circled around ideas like protection, support, and acceptance. This was a really good conversation to hear them have.

6th Period

My 6th period is my smallest class. They are the most vocal when it comes to how they feel (positively or negatively). They are also the most skilled at successfully encouraging me to go off topic! They are also all friends, so this was quick work for them. After some joking around they got right to the task and finished brainstorming quickly. They then began work on the poster, ultimately deciding upon four classroom norms: (1) Have fun and laugh. (2) Help others. (3) Respect and listen to everyone. (4) Work together to stay focused. 

They even worked to figure out, to the best of their ability, how to say "We love Latin." While not 100% correct, this is their own work and I am incredibly proud of them!

IMG: A large white posterboard with class norms listed in
shoutouts. The posterboard is decorated with stickers
stamps and markers and includes "nos amat Latinam". 

IMG: A whiteboard covered in words: Love, Latin, Play,
clean, respect, learning, intellectual, contribute, gimkit,
awareness, cooperation, people, English, friendly,
games, no sleep, awake, chill, nice, communicate,
fun, normal, crazy, engaged, respectful, funny,
enjoyable, good energy, good vibes, pay attention,
clean, honesty, creative, engaging, and listen to each other. 

7th period

My last class of the day is my largest. This class included just about any student you can think of. It took a little longer for them to collect ideas and to understand what I was asking, but when they did, we got a board FULL of words and phrases! Their expectations focused on working together to create a fun and interactive environment. 

They are still working on their poster, but their brainstormed is pictured left. 

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