I feel like I haven't spent much time with you lately. The beginning of the year has been so hectic. We have a new principal, so I've had to stop and ask permission at times when I would have normally gone full speed ahead.
Anyway...our new principal is a believer in The Flippen Group's Capturing Kids' Hearts philosophy. The main idea is to create a caring atmosphere on campus. One of the ways we do that is by creating social contracts with the students, not classroom rules dictated by the teacher.
So, at the beginning of my library orientation sessions with third, fourth, and fifth grades, I had them write down on a half sheet of paper how they thought we should behave in the library, to make it a great place to learn and read. I only allowed a couple of minutes, and we didn't have time to discuss their ideas. It was really a bare bones version of the social contract, but with over 900 students, that's the best I could do.
This weekend, I read all of the responses, and sorted them into stacks of similar statements. Except for a few, all of the suggestions fell into these four categories: whisper or be quiet; walk, don't run; treat the books right; and treat other people right.
So, next week, when I meet with all of these classes again, I will share the expectations that we created TOGETHER. I've made a poster, and we'll refer back to it all year when we discuss behavior issues.
I think that our social contract will have a positive effect on library behavior. And, as Pete the Cat would say, it's all good.
But here's what really amazed me. Although the students were in third, fourth, and fifth grades, they came up with 27 ways to spell QUIET! In addition to the ONE correct way!
Here's how they spelled it:
Oh. My. Goodness.
If you are currently working in education, then I don't have to tell you why our students spell like this, do I? Spelling is not tested. On the big test that counts for everything. I'm trying not to rant here, but reading these student notes makes me sad. *sigh*
Ok, rant's over. I'll let you know how it goes with our social contract. This is my first time to try this approach.
Do any of you use Capturing Kids' Hearts? I'd love to hear more about it!