Changing the Norm

We began our year together talking about norms, and about how we would treat each other as learners.   We ended up creating classroom norms and personal standards to live by:

                        IMG273      IMG311

We come back to these norms all the time, calling each other out (including me when I don’t turn off my cell phone, which is a norm they wanted to put on that list) and reminding us of what we’re supposed to be doing.

Well, we’ve added some new norms to our classroom recently, based on new things we’re doing together.    And just like the last ones, we brainstormed together and then narrowed down our favorites.  And we’re so good at that.  I wish I’d have recorded the conversations around these norms, because they are such great examples of respectful, civil discourse leading to consensus.  LOVE IT!

Ok, here’s what we’ve got:

Before we started our Literature Circles, we brainstormed how we thought we should work together with our groups.  All ideas were fair game, and they had some great ones!

Before we started our Literature Circles, we brainstormed how we thought we should work together with our groups. All ideas were fair game, and they had some great ones!

Then we narrowed it down to a more reasonable number of norms to follow.  And we do a super job of doing so!

Then we narrowed it down to a more reasonable number of norms to follow. And we do a super job of doing so!

The second group of norms is related to our work on Edmodo (more on exactly what that is sometime soon).  We started out without an specific “rules,” just the basic ones that we follow every day in our room.  But as we got better used to collaborating and working on Edmodo, we started so have some concerns about how it was going.  For me, the best part of this list is that all I had to say was, “I’ve noticed some things about Edmdo lately.  What are you thinking about it?” and they thought of the same things as me!

Edmodo concerns brainstorming list

Edmodo concerns brainstorming list

There was an in-between list where they then proposed norms related to each of these concerns, but I don’t have a picture of it. 😦  Fortunately, I think they all ended up on our final poster:

There are a lot of them, but they were all important and necessary to our learning.

There are a lot of them, but they were all important and necessary to our learning.  My favorite one is “quiet hours.”  I would never have thought of that one, but it’s related to the online aspect of Edmodo and not disturbing each other with notifications while we’re trying to sleep.  SO SMART!

But just like with any expectations, rules or norms, the bid deal is following them.  And we’re doing such an amazing job of that!  I really do have the best bunch of 5th graders around!

How do you use norms in your classroom?  Do you norms look like ours?  If so, how so? Thanks in advance for helping us learn!

3 thoughts on “Changing the Norm

    • Overdue? Really? I think they work pretty well. But here’s my thinking…as I started to notice things not working well, I kept notes of what I was seeing (to make sure I could add to the list if necessary!) and then just brought it up like I mentioned: What do you notice about how this has been working? What do you suggest we do about it? Maybe you could do the same thing with us. Do you think it would work? What exactly is it that you want to accomplish with our norms? (Thanks for reading, by the way. 🙂 )

      • I think I am going to include a norms reflection at one of our final staff meetings for the year, and then follow up as well in August. But, in the short term, I am going to put our norms back in the spotlight at our smaller meetings, like grade level and data meetings. I always assume they are in the front of our minds, but even I find myself NOT pausing! 🙂
        Shocking, I know….

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