As LA area schools go back to school, we want to feature the new "Back to School Toolkit" from Facing History. Each day this week, we will showcase one part of the toolkit.
By using the fourth lesson from the Back-to-School Toolkit, classes get to collaborate on something that can guide them and serve as a touchpoint for the whole year – the classroom contract. While it can seem like a simple exercise, the importance of this lesson should not be minimized. It provides the opportunity for the entire community to have a voice and a stake in establishing the tone for wrestling with important ideas, conversations, and learning.
In the course of perspective sharing and wrestling with big ideas, I have seen even the most cohesive of learning teams come up against challenges and conflicts, and I have also seen how returning to a classroom contract has helped educators navigate through those challenges successfully. When people have contributed to establishing the norms, they show greater inclination to carry out those norms, and to make adjustments when those norms are broken. The investment in the co-creation process of the contract pays off again and again.
Sometimes classroom contracts need to be revised over time as new situations arise. I think of that as a positive, not a negative. What a wonderful demonstration of the idea of a living document, and a commitment to growth
See all of our Back to School posts here.