Friday, July 13, 2012

Life Skills and Lifelong Guidlines

My classroom has no rules.  That's right NO RULES.  No, I am not crazy.  We have a class pledge instead.  It is based on the Highly Effective Teaching Model, created by Susan Kovalik.  There are 5 main lifelong guidelines that are the key parts of our class pledge.  (Truthfulness, trustworthiness, active listening, no putdowns and personal best. )  I explain to the kids like this: we should be showing these 5 things EVERY DAY.  We say the class pledge daily and it "replaces" the traditional rules you might have in a classroom.  I got the idea from the school I student taught at.  The whole school followed this model and I loved it so much I just had to use in my own classroom.  I have used it since day one and I don't regret it one bit.  It is a much more positive way of keeping the kids under control.  Anything "offense" that might occur, can fit under one of those 5 guidelines.  Each time a child breaks their class pledge, they move a clip down our chart.  ( I will post information about our chart soon.)

So, the class pledge goes like this:
  I promise to be truthful.
  I promise to be trustworthy.
  I promise to use my active listening.
  I promise to give NO put downs.
  I promise to do my personal best today.

Along with the class pledge, we study 19 life skills. (Caring, common sense, cooperation, courage, curiosity, creativity, effort, flexibility, friendship, initiative, integrity, organization, patience, pride, problem solving, perseverance, resourcefulness, responsibility, sense of humor.).  We start on the first day of school and we learn them one by one.  We talk about real life ways to show these life skills.  Then, as the year goes on, I use these words when managing the class.  They begin to become more familiar with each of them and what each means and how to show it.  These words fuel my classroom discipline, while at the same time help to develop kids with awesome character!

If you would like to start using the lifelong guidelines and life skills in your classroom, you can buy supplies from Books for Educators.  Click the link below to go to their site.  I have the life skills posters and the lifelong guidelines poster.  I usually give the website to my parents too, if they want to order one of the magnets for their fridge.  :)