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Friday, May 27, 2016

Creating, Teaching, and Practicing Cultural Norms

Our classroom teaching community has been very chatty lately and listening has been a challenge. Partly this is due to the wonderful energy, social drive, and multiple activities that currently exist, and part of this belongs to the need I have as an educator to deeply instill a sense of positive cultural norms in the classroom from the start of year.

The teachers that instill positive cultural norms the best are patient educators. These educators carefully work with students the first six weeks of the school year to create the norms together and then practice those norms daily to create an atmosphere where 20+ students can work and learn together day after day.

So as this year ends and next year starts, I'll focus on the important norms that set the stage for good learning, norms including the following:

Kindness Matters
That's our school motto, a motto which the principal has supported and forwarded in multiple ways.

Listen to Each Other
We will practice this skill too, and we'll also practice the skill of good presentation which makes the listening easier.

No Body Contact
That's our safety norm for in the classroom and outside. I always say "We're a body contact free zone" which is a comment that works to promote a culture of no hitting, pushing, or inappropriate touching of any kind. (Yet a pat on the shoulder, handshake, or occasional hug are acceptable)

Put Forth Your Best Effort
The aim is for everyone to do their best, and for educators to support children in any way they can.

Know You're Capable of Learning
We have a growth mindset mentality.

Work Together
Collaboration is often the key to good learning.

Contribute
The classroom belongs to all of us so pitch in and help out with classroom needs such as clean-up.

Responsibility
Follow the daily routines. I'll do my part in keeping these routines simple, and you do your part by following up.

Conversation
We'll meet often to make collective decisions and discuss common issues.

Respect
Respect for self, respect or each other, respect for school property. We need to discuss what that looks like from the start of the year and then remind one another of this throughout the year.