1-2-3 Come Make a Social Contract & Some Classroom Rules With Me
A classroom social contract is quick, easy and fun for your kiddos. By having a say in making up the rules, (even though they will turn out to be the same as a teacher would think of) makes things seem more “fair” and students more accountable.
I love social contracts. I made one up each year no matter what grade I taught. I simply listed my rules on a poster.
We discussed why they were important. Then I had everyone raise their right hand and say “I promise to obey our rules.”
Older students can simply sign another sheet of paper, to be hung up under the poster, but for younger elementary, I liked to have them trace & cut out their hand print, then write their name on top.
Promising, and then signing their name, makes students feel important.
It also makes them accountable and more responsible for their actions.
Promises are big deals to children, so a social contract gives you a lot of behavior modification leverage.
All you have to do when a child gets off track and is breaking the class’s terms of agreement, is to ask, “Did you promise not to do that? Did you sign our contract? How should you act? What should you do?"
Sometimes I didn’t even say anything. As a gentle reminder, I’d give the “rule breaker” the proverbial “teachers stare”.
Once I made eye contact, I’d point to the contract. They’d follow my glance to the poster and I’d simply pat their name.
This gentle reminder, worked wonders.
I didn’t call attention to negative behavior, the child wasn’t embarrassed, and the gentle reminder got them back on track.
Periodically I’d review our contract, especially after long weekends, and vacations.
You can have a whole-group discussion, and ask children to reflect on how they think they’ve done, and ask if you should make additions or changes.
Because my social contract has been so successful in my classroom, I decided to share it in my latest creation for TpT.
The contract snowballed into a 65-page "School Rules Classroom Management" packet.
I think you'll find very useful, as it's "kid-tested & teacher approved" so these positive behavior modification techniques really work, plus they're quick, easy & fun for your kiddos.
I've included 4 social contract poster options.
Choose one & mount the poster on construction paper, glue it to the center of a piece of tag board.
Make a frame of student hand prints either with paint, or by tracing & cutting them out.,
Because accountability is so important, have children write their name over their print.
Besides the social contract posters, the packet is chock full of a variety of ideas & activities for your classroom rules, ensuring a safe, warm, and respectful environment, and includes the following:
“I promised!” slap bracelets. My kiddos LOVE them! Using a square of Scotch tape, I fasten them on at the end of our day.
This is a quick, easy and super-fun way to reinforce the rules, as parents will be prompted to ask: "What did you promise?"
“Actions have consequences” bookmark
Mindful of our “P’s & Q” poster & writing prompt
My personal favorite: "I have rights; I have responsibilities” posters, plus
“We’ve got SWAG” posters, along with matching "I've got SWAG" mini ones. Both are suitable for older students.
I hope you find this social contract idea and the rule packet as helpful and successful for your class, as it was for mine.
In celebration for getting ready to go back to school, the packet is currently on sale in my TpT shop for just $4.95. Click on the link to pop on over.
As always, I have not one, but several FREEBIES for you today! I pulled 10 posters from the packet and rolled them into a Back To School Poster Packet for you. Click on the link to grab these fun FREEBIES today.
Well that's it for now. Thanks for stopping by. I'll be watching 2 of my grandchildren today (Kaiden 2 & Kaitlyn 8 months) which is such a joy.
There's nothing like the awesome enthusiasm of a child and seeing the world through their adventurous and delighted eyes.
Wishing you a love-filled day filled with precious moments.
"There are not Seven Wonders of the World in the eyes of a child; there are seven million." -Unknown
1-2-3 Come Do Some Constitution Day Activities With Me
With a federal mandate that any schools accepting federal funds, need to do some educational activity associated with the Constitution, on September 17th, I wanted to think up something that my Y5’s could easily understand.
With everything else that teachers have to cover, I also wanted what we did to be something simple and especially relevant to them.
This packet does exactly that, because I've tied it into classroom management: jobs of students and teachers, as well as the rules and regulations they must follow.
These activities not only tie in with the Constitution, they are quick and easy to implement. Children can wrap their heads around these Constitutional comparisons and the result will be a more caring classroom climate, with less inappropriate behavior.
The Constitution is a document that serves as the foundation of American government. To help explain this to students, make a document of jobs as well as rules for your classroom and have all of the children sign it.
The Constitution is broken up into 3 branches. (Legislative, Executive, and Judicial) They all have specific jobs. Like wise, teachers and students have jobs.
First, discuss and make a list of all the jobs and responsibilities of a good student. Then make up a list of jobs (responsibilities) for teachers. I’ve included headers for you to put up on your board, so that you can brainstorm with your students and write things under the appropriate heading.
Children’s discussion will often involve what they think the qualities of a good student and good teacher are. I’m sure some of their ideas will make you smile. ( “Teachers need to smell nice.” )
Write students’ ideas on the board. I’ve included a completed list of things we thought of to help you, as well as blank templates to fill in your own. I’d enjoy seeing what your kiddos come up with. You can e-mail me at: email@example.com
Hang up your lists on a bulletin board. There’s also a poster that you can put in the middle of your board, after all of your students have signed it.
Next, discuss your rules. Because students have been in school for several weeks, you’ve hopefully have already established a list of rules with them. If you don't have a set of rules posted, click on the link for my simple rules poster.
Review the rules and make a list of them on the board. (Tie this in with the Constitution, as our country also has rules, which are laws that people must follow.)
Discuss how things are going . Is everyone following the rules? Are they good rules; fair rules; necessary? Do you need to change, modify, or add any rules? (Tie this in with the Constitution by briefly explaining the amendments to the Constitution.) I've included a writing prompt page where students can jot down 3 reasons why doing their job and following rules is important.
What are the consequences of not following the rules? What do they think would happen if there were no rules to follow and everyone adopted an “anything goes” attitude? (Briefly discuss the correlation of this to the Constitution’s checks, balances and punishment for breaking laws.)
An easy way to make your classroom constitution is to make a social contract. Head your poster: “We the (kindergarten) students of (Orchard Trails Elementary) promise to . . .” and then list what students feel are important promises (rules, jobs and responsibilities).
Have each child sign the poster. (Remember to have new students sign it too.) This is now a working document (like the Constitution). Discuss how signing something is a big deal. This is binding. Even young children understand the importance of a promise and following through. (“But you promised . . .) If the class as a whole, or an individual student, is not keeping their promises per the terms of your social contract, refer to the poster and ask:
“Did you promise to follow the rules, be a good listener, be kind to one another? etc.” (Obviously they did.) After thy take responsibility for their actions then ask: “What would have been a better choice? What should happen now?” Click on the link to view/download the Constitution Day Jobs & Rules Packet.
I found a cute social contract over at Corner Character blog spot. I like how she wrote each promise in a different color marker and then had students add their painted handprint to the side of the chart, adding their names when the paint dried.
I designed my own social contract, tracing my students' hands on a variety of colors of construction paper.
I glued our "promise poster" to the center of a piece of tag board, then "framed" it with the colorful prints.
For more accountability, have children sign their own names, which makes them feel important & more accountable. For added pizzazz, when school pictures come back, copy, cut & glue one to each child's hand.
Our social contract has been so successful, that I decided to share it in a "School Rules Classroom Management" packet. Click on the link to check it out.
Follow up these activities by reading “We the Kids” by David Catrow. He makes understanding the Preamble to the Constitution accessible to children in a fun and humorous way. A glossary of terms and a foreword by the artist are also included.
Since the Preamble is one of the most famous and familiar parts of the Constitution, I’ve included several trace and write worksheets in the packet.
I find that a short video is often the best way to review and get more information into my students’ minds. A nice way to end your day is to choose a short video from this American history website.
The first one is only 4 minutes, another on the Founding Fathers is 3 minutes and a final one entitled America Gets A Constitution is 4 minutes. They are easy for little ones to understand and include some good background information.
Thanks for visiting. Time to go watch the Detroit Lions hopefully win a football game!
"If you want to know where your heart is, go to where your mind goes when it wanders." -Unknown
1-2-3 Come Make Some Posters With Me
I've learned that when it comes to young children, keeping things simple is a recipe for success. With that in mind, I designed this simple rules poster. Use it to review, reinforce and remind.
This is the latest addition to a lot of other posters and anchor charts that I have on TeachWithMe.com Over 50 are just a click away.
I LOVED using posters as a quick way to decorate my room and our hallway, for the various seasons and themes that we studied throughout the year. Having taught PK, K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 9th, 10th, 12th and college, you can imagine the collection I accumulated over the years! They were not easy to part with, but I'm glad to say they have been happily recycled.
Since I wanted to post the newest addition and blog about it, I needed a bit more of an article, so here are a few of my favorite classroom-management type posters. I've also used posters as a writing prompt, asking my students what they thought and if they agreed or disagreed with the poster. Click on the various hot links below to grab your copies.
"Please ZIP your lips!" was something that I taught my students on the first day of school.
Since sewing is one of my hobbies, I had a few zippers on hand, so I took them to school, laying one on my chalk sill, another on my desk, and a 3rd by my reading chair.
To signal silence, I'd hold up the real zipper and zip it shut. My students would then pretend to zip their lips.
It was a simple and effective way to start story time, and my students really enjoyed the monkey-see monkey-do zipping.
Sometimes, we'd sing the "Zip Your Lips" song, when we prepared to get ready to transition or go somewhere. Click on the link to view/download the "Zippy" posters and song.
"Owl" Be Watching is an effective, yet gentle reminder, to make wise choices. Making students take responsibility for their actions and holding them responsible with consequences, is a must for successful classroom management.
To make your new students feel extra special, run off copies and tuck them in their take home folders or Open House packets, then display one on your classroom wall.
Likewise, the "In This Classroom..." poster (another tweaked idea) is a nice addition to your classroom booklet.
Studies have shown that good readers are risk takers.
It's important to foster the idea that it's OK to make mistakes, so students feel at ease making a "guess-timate" and taking the risk of being wrong. It's simply how we learn.
With that in mind, I designed this pencil poster.
Remembering to put their name on all of their work, was something that I reminded my students of daily.
To help with that in a fun way, I taught my students this simple rhyme and then made it into a poster that hung above our "turned in work" basket.
"You get what you get, so don't get upset!" was another rhyme that I taught my Y5's. This is especially handy if you have young ones who pout and/or pitch a fit when they don't get their 1st choice or color preference.
My little ones were quick to pick up on this, so whenever a child carried on, at least one, if not more students would kindly chant the rhyme to them.
The other Don't Get Upset poster in this pack, is for when students cop an attitude when they don't get to participate, or do a special craftivity, because they did not complete their work. This "Don't Get Upset" poster is a gentle reminder of the choices they made.
If you're like me, you hate it when children continue to whine and give excuses for not following through, staying on task, or completing an activity. This little "Make an Effort Not an Excuse" poster is one of my favorites.
If you practice the "bucket filling" philosophy or simply want your students to consider their words and actions, you may find the "Trading Places" poster helpful.
Have you used the technique of "Put your thinking caps on?" I actually had my Y5's pretend to put one on, and then make a goofy noise to show me that theirs was working.
We'd zip our lips and be ready to get down to business. Click on the link for a cute picture of a "real" thinking cap that I made into a poster.
Finally, I had to throw in a silly little teacher poster to make an even dozen FREEBIE posters today. I hung all sorts of paper "stuff" (poems, posters, quotes, pictures and notes) inside my cupboard doors that would make me smile, or give me a much-needed lift.
We all need this boost to our spirits, especially if it's been a challenging day -- and the reason we became a teacher in the first place is clouded by craziness. Thus, I give you my "Whew!" poster, for when you've had one of those days. I'm sure you can relate, as we've all been there; done that!
Thanks for visiting today. Hopefully you found at least one goodie that you can use in your classroom, as you prepare for a "clean slate" and exciting brand new year.
A zillion more ideas are floating through my head, so I'm off to jot them down before they disappear like my summer seems to be doing!
"There's no tired, like teacher tired at the end of the first, last, or party day!"
Communicating With Parents:
Parental communication is very important, but with so many tasks for a teacher to accomplish in a day, especially with the demands of very young children, how does one find time to dash off notes?
How do you reinforce positive behavior? Do you send home a note to parents?
Do you give your students a certificate of praise?
Likewise, how do you communicate with parents when they want to know how their child is doing when their disruptive behavior is being modified?
To make these tasks quick and easy, I’ve designed a variety of forms. My behavior modification techniques are checklists where a child is held accountable for their own behavior.
They decide which behavior they are going to work on for the day. During various parts of the day they can color in a smilie face or put a sticker on their paper.
For students that are working on a multitude of things, I can simply check all the boxes that apply at the end of the day, in less than a minute, and send that note home to be signed by the parent and returned.
I’ve put all of these forms in a 66-page packet that includes happy-grams, certificates of praise, and posters.
I've also included positive-reinforcement games, like Pizza Reward, Bubble Gum Challenge, Apple Puzzle & Classroom Cash.
There is a student contract, progress report, posters, classroom expectations, a neat desk award, and a promise pledge as well.
The forms help empower students, build self-esteem, help motivate, help students accept responsibility and be accountable.
They free the teacher up and make communicating with parents simple, easy and quick.
I hope that you will find something here that will help your days run smoothly.
I’d enjoy hearing from you about the packet, or if you have something to share that works for you that would be wonderful too. firstname.lastname@example.org
Click on the link to go to Behavior Charts, Notes, & Contracts so that you can view/print/download them.
I wish you a marvelous month filled with lots of beautiful back-to-school moments!