Now is NOT the time to give up. With several weeks of school remaining for many educators and students, now is the time to maximize learning. One way to do this is to take advantage of the class meeting. If you are not already holding class meetings, then now may be the perfect time.
Take advantage of Class Meetings in order to:
Get Everyone on the Same Page. Allowing students and teachers to sit down and discuss classroom happenings, share goals and learning plans, gives everyone the chance to connect and support each other. Students can understand and learn from each other, and ensure that everyone is receiving the necessary supports, from both peers and adults.
Provide Student Input. We often hear that student voice is extremely important. Allowing students to run the meeting, or contribute to the class within the meeting structure truly gives voice to students. Give students the chance to problem solve, to address each other, to celebrate and share with each other. Let students tell you exactly what they like and don’t like about the learning environment. Start by having students contribute to the agenda of the meeting. (Start a Google Doc for the agenda and share with students. Collaboratively determine what will go on the agenda.)
Address Discipline through Restorative Justice. While consequences such as loss of recess, detentions and suspensions may sometimes have an impact on behaviors within your classroom, it might be more beneficial to allow the Class Meeting to serve as an opportunity for restorative justice practices. Let students use the meeting to address behavior problems head on, and to serve as a forum for students to let others know of their mistakes in order to apologize.
Celebrate Successes. As you approach the end of the school year, take time to reflect upon and celebrate your successes. Recognize specific accomplishments for individual students as well as team successes. Let students recognize each other, and celebrate everything that students accomplish, no matter how small the feat!
Practice What You Preach. The class meeting serves as the perfect opportunity to model expectations for students. Do you want students to choose kinder words when speaking to each other? Model situations where students are not choosing kind words, and model situations where students are. Let other students reflect and critique, and share what they would do in a similar situation.
What added benefits do you find from conducting class meetings? Share your thoughts at #4OCF on Twitter.