There are many different kinds of "smarts." We need social smarts in order to make friends, connect with others, and feel like we belong. Our words and actions affect those around us. Showing interest in others and thinking about how others feel doesn't always come easy. When we act in "unexpected" ways, the people around us have "uncomfortable" thoughts. In David Goes to School by David Shannon, David spends the day wreaking havoc in his classroom. His exasperated teacher utters the phrase, "No, David!” over and over again. David is seemingly unaware of the effects of his behavior on his unfortunate classmates.
After reading David Goes to School, we agree that every classroom needs a set of clear and reasonable expectations. Promises we can make to one another to ensure that all members of the community feel safe, comfortable, and successful.
We ponder this important question:
1. What kinds of student behaviors will make our classroom an uncomfortable place to be?
2. What kinds of student behaviors are important for making our classroom a safe, happy, and fun place?
3. What kinds of teacher behaviors will make our classroom an uncomfortable place to be?
4. What kind of teacher behaviors are important for making our classroom a safe, happy, and fun place?
5. What kind of behaviors drive you completely crazy in a classroom?
6. What promises can we make to one anther in order to make this the best year ever?
In small groups, we rotate around the classrooms jotting down our responses to these questions on large sheets of paper. Each person has a different color marker, so we can be sure everyone's thinking is represented. Next we read our classmates' ideas and comment back. We can agree, disagree, give an example, or ask a question.
**Thanks to Bill Ferriter for sharing this process!