Our Classroom Vision and Being “CURIOUS” Learners

Things are continuing to go smoothly at school — I am quite pleased with the work that my students have been doing and how they are starting to adapt to some of the routines and procedures that we’ve jointly created for our classroom.

This week we spent some time brainstorming what our classroom vision would be. We looked back at our “best classroom” activity from last week and thought about what would need to happen in order for us to make that vision a reality. The result was the vision, which we brainstormed together: “In our classroom, we will become smarter by being kind and caring, being respectful and responsible, being happy, and working together.”

photo 2 (2)

The students spent time decorating our vision poster and then, this morning, spent time reflecting on what our vision means to them by drawing and writing about what our room will be like if we all act in a way that allows our vision to be a reality. Their answers were pretty impressive — ranging from simply things like having straight lines, to everyone being happy, to everyone being curious and asking questions.

photo 2

After creating our vision, we spent a lot of time talking and thinking about rules. My students’ first homework assignment was to list the rules that they need to follow at home (also a good way to potentially find the pulse of what’s going on at home for my students). They then completed a Venn Diagram where they compared their rules at home to their rules at school. Next, we chose a word to create an acronym for our classroom rules — they chose “Curious” because we are the “Curious Questioners.” Finally, the students had the opportunity to propose rules and then we held a class vote to determine which ones we would use.

Here are our resulting classroom rules/beliefs:

Conquer challenges
Use kind words
Respectful and responsible
Inside voices
Okay to make mistakes
Unusually hard workers
Set a good example

The students worked on writing and creating images to represent our rules.

photo 3Overall, my students were pretty engaged during these somewhat-lengthy community-building experiences. I am positive that we are getting off to a stronger start than last year and I am excited to see how the students’ investment in and accountability to our classroom rules and policies are impacted by their increased involvement in their creation.

Next week, we are beginning a new unit of study — “Being Good Learners.” My students will first be learning about whether going to school is a right or a privilege.


2 thoughts on “Our Classroom Vision and Being “CURIOUS” Learners

  1. Teachling September 13, 2014 / 6:57 am

    Fantastic work! I love that you’re continuing with the Curious Questioners theme for this year too. I like to start the school year in the same way as you – We should never underestimate the LASTING impact the first month of school will have on the way the rest of the year plays out. By working to build the clas community and culture, by developing shared norms/values, democratically setting the academic, social and behavioral expectations for each other, all the while getting to know each other as individuals, you’re setting the Curious Questioners up for a wonderful year together. I love the way you also took the time for students to ‘unpack’ their vision statement… I usually do this with small groups creating Y-charts (for example, picking out the first part of the vision, being ‘kind and caring’ – what does this “look like… sound like… feeling like”) as well as individual little mission statements (eg. “I am kind and caring… This means I _____”). 🙂

    • Cultivating Questioners September 21, 2014 / 9:43 am

      Thanks for your response — I am already starting to see a big difference in terms of peer accountability in my classroom. Your y-chart idea sounds like a great one — I think that would be very helpful for some of the more abstract terms like “respect” and “responsibility.” Hope your year is off to a great start!

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