For the beginning of this school year, I’ve been really focusing on creating a student-led environment where students feel safe to take risks and to feel valued for who they are and what they bring to the class.
To build a positive classroom environment, I have been doing a few different activities.
The first activity was a class treaty. I had decided to let the students come up with the way we were going to do this activity to promote student voice and engagement. We had a few options for how we could achieve a class treaty and it was decided that in small groups, the children would brainstorm different values and statements for how they’d like our classroom to be this year.
The students then decided to write these on post-it notes and to organise them into categories of ‘yes, no, or maybe’ and a final list of ideas were formed. A group of students who wanted to do the display then created a class scroll (still to be finished) which has really encouraged a big sense of ownership.
The next thing is that I’ve created a ‘Room 17, Class of 2017’ magazine/book. Here, we included some information on each student so they can get to know each other a little deeper. This will also be a home for class photos and other things the students want to include as a ‘year book’ of sorts.
Next, we created florets – a Pasifika flower that shows the following things:
- Dreams and aspirations
- Our interests and hobbies.
This was a great way to promote discussion between students and to see where there are similarities across students. The students said they felt a real sense of pride in who they are and that it made them feel more valued as a member of the class – that they were valued.