One of the most important things that happens at the beginning of each year is the setting of expectations. I like to put my students in charge of how our classroom is run (with some limits, of course!), and want their input on what will make this a successful year.
We began with a Classroom Culture Gallery Walk. The students answered answering six prompts - What do I hope to learn this year? What can Mrs. May do to help me be successful? What do I have to do in order to be successful? School should always be ________. School is important because _________. What should students in our classroom be doing to make our classroom run as smoothly as possible?
After every student had answered the prompts, we did a gallery walk around to look at the different responses. These responses led to the creation of our Classroom Culture Code. I got this idea from a teacher blog several years ago, but cannot remember whose in order to credit it. If you know, please let me know!
Later this week we worked on center expectations. Each student wrote five ideas regarding effective center time. After they wrote their ideas, they got into groups and tried to categorize and title their ideas. When they were finished, we combined them into our Center Time Rules. This idea came from my summer professional development with Anne Davies and Sandra Herbst.