The best-followed rules in my classroom have been the ones that the kids develop themselves. Last year, I had a group of 7th-grade students who were spending more time disagreeing on their table responsibilities than getting their work done. Rather than imposing a teacher solution, I just said: “I’m giving you ten minutes to figure out how to work together and share responsibilities equally.” Those words triggered the humorous, student-generated, and effective . . . “The United Tables of Art”.
The Constitution for the United Tables of Art
We the people, in order to form a more perfect art union, combine these tables and form the United tables of Art. A government made for the people.
10 Basic Laws and Ideas
- John is Judicial.
- Albert is executive.
- Nate and Blake are Legislative, Nate is House of Rep., Blake is Senate.
- All controversy is to be voted on.
- Treason is punishable.
- Treaties with others must be signed.
- Bill of Rights will be followed.
- All possible treaties will be taken care of.
- Military will be led by Nate, Blake, Albert.
- Freedom to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The Founding Fathers, x________
I thought it was so smart that they figured this out. I love the equal powers of government described within the document. They also finished out the year working together better than they had all semester. I will even say this was a cross-curricular learning experience. If only I had planned it that way!
We can learn a lot from our students – empower them to find their own solutions to their problems.
How do you set up your classroom rules?