Wednesday, March 12, 2014

NCIS, The Rules and Classroom Culture

I was watching NCIS last week and heard a line about Gibb's famous rules   It got me thinking about my "rules" in my classroom.  I'm not talking about the "Raise your hand"  or "Speak French" types of rules but
more about the rules that define the culture of a class. The values I expect my kids to live by.

So I started thinking about what my students would tell you were "Mme's Rules".  What are the things that I am always telling them, hoping it will guide them in their learning. Here is a few I think/hope I would hear:

Mme Hawtree's Rules

Rule 1:  Work hard

Learning to read and write is HARD WORK. Learning to do it in French is even harder. My kids know that it is just part of the deal.

Rule 2:  Do YOUR best.

The rule is do YOUR best. Not do the best. Not be the best. Do the best you can do in any situation.

Rule 3:  Do MORE.

I always give kids a line but I always encourage them to do a little more... to push themselves a little further. For example.... Your goal today is to read for 5 minute or MORE.... do you think we can do that?

Rule 3:  We are all teachers.

My kids know that they are going to learn as much from each other as they are from me. I want them to share what they know with each other and treat each other with respect. We are also ALL responsible for helping each other out. If you know how to do something I don't then you can teach me how.

Rule 4:  We are all students.

I always learn something new from my kids and I make sure I tell them that often. I let them know I am still learning, that I make mistakes and that there is always more to know. They always know when Mme is going to "Teacher school" (ProD) to become a better teacher.

Rule 6:  Listen with your brain.

This one is tricky to teach but so important for all of us to learn. My kids know that I expect them to be THINKING about what they are hearing. Asking themselves questions about what they are hearing, making connections with it.... thinking about what is being said.

Rule 7:  Tell the truth.

The students in my class all know that they will get in way more trouble for telling me a lie then they would ever get for taking responsibility for their own actions.

Rule 8:  You are responsible for you.

This one applies to a lot of things. You are responsible for your things. You are responsible for your learning. You are responsible for asking questions when you need answers.  Most importantly you are responsible for your actions. No matter what is happening around us we have some choice about how we act and react.

 What did I learn at school today?  We all have unwritten rules or expectations for our students. These are a few of mine. It also got me thinking about what kinds of rules are missing? Are there things I say I value but I am not teaching my kids?  What other rules should I have?

 What about you?  What are your "Rules"?   What is important to you? What are the values you expect your students to live by when they are with you?

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