Sunday, September 12, 2010

Daily Assignment #7:A Unit for Establishing Rules for the Classroom

There are many ways to develop rules for a classroom.  Some teachers have a set list of rules.  Some teachers follow the guidelines of Responsive Classroom in establishing rules.  I chose to work with the students on developing "The Rule."  That's right, one rule. I know that is shocking, but it only takes one rule. And it is "RESPECT EACH OTHER!"

I would like to share with you a unit that I designed for establishing "The Rule."  This unit has 4 lessons but may take 4-6 days to complete.

Select 3 books which reflect some form of chaos in an environment.  I chose The Mystery of the Red Mitten, by Steven Kellogg; Noah's Ark, by Peter Spier and Old MacDonald Had An Apartment House, by Judith Barrett.

Divide the class into 3 groups.  Depending on the grade level, have the students, or an adult, read one of the stories to a group.  Each group should have a large sheet of paper with an outline of the environment depicted in the story they are reading, e.g. red mitten, ark, apartment house.

Before the stories are read, ask the students to think about "What might one rule have been, for the characters in the story, to prevent all the chaos?'

Establish roles within the group, e.g. summarizer of the story, rule presenter/s, recorder/s, timekeeper.  Some jobs may have more than one student.

After the groups have read their story, they are to write down all the rules they thought about onto the large paper, (establish a minimum and maximum amount of rules because it can get out of control, or you might end up with nothing). Depending on the age group, someone will need to be the recorder. This part of the lesson may take 20-30 minutes.  Setting a timer will help to move the conversation along and keep the groups focused, hence a timekeeper.

While students are waiting for groups to finish, the other groups may draw details on their large paper, e.g. staircase, animals, etc...  

When all groups have completed listing their rules, bring the class back together and have each group do a presentation. Begin with story summarizer, then presenter/s of rules.  Process the 3 groups' work and list the common rules, while also pointing out that each environment had different rules as well. Use the word "respect" while processing. Post charts.

This lesson may take 2 days, depending on the age/grade of students.

For homework, have the students list rules for their home.  On the following day, process the homework with the students.  What are the common rules?  Which rules are family specific?  Again, use the word "respect".   You might also put them back into their groups and have them come up with the answers to the 2 questions.  Then process as a whole group.  Post the homework.

On Wednesday, I will explain the next 2 lessons in this unit.
I hope you will let me know how this goes.

Best Effort,

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