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Classroom Contract

The Classroom Contract serves as a collaboratively created framework for behavior expectations in the classroom. Students and teacher work together to design an agreement for classroom norms, rules and consequences. To achieve ultimate student ownership, contracts should be developed and agreed upon by all class members. The Classroom Contract can be frequently amended as situations arise.

How to use

1. Ask students' opinions

Allow students time to brainstorm problems that they face in class and at school.  This can be done individually, with small groups, or through a classroom survey.  For example, students may state that they suffer from bullying, classroom disruptions, or disrespectful behavior.

2. Ask for students' ideas

Once the problems have been outlined, the students and teacher collaborate to create solutions. As groups bring up solutions, ask a student to write them on the board or a poster.  Use positive language when possible. This gives students a clearer idea of how they should react to problems they encounter, which is more effective than only telling them how they should not behave.

3. Summarize students' ideas

Facilitate a class discussion to gather feedback from the students before moving on to the next step. Emphasize that it is important for the Classroom Contract to include rules that students believe in and that they will adhere to as individuals and as a group. Ensure that the list contains all behavioral objectives you deem necessary. If not, guide the students to add any behavior goals that they originally missed while brainstorming. Additionally, have students think about what could be removed from the list.

4. Turn ideas into rules

Create a poster or anchor chart to display the finalized rules. The rules will likely include guidelines such as: hands and feet to yourself, actively listen to the speaker, be kind, be respectful, etc.

5. Sign the contract

To create ultimate student ownership, allow time for each student to sign his or her name to the completed contact. The teacher should sign the contract as well. Place the contract in a prominent position in the classroom.

6. Review the contract

Hold intermittent Classroom Contract discussion sessions. Ask students to assess progress and determine if any contract amendments should be made.

When to use

Use the Classroom Contract at any time during a lesson to encourage structure and desirable behavior, specifically:
• At the beginning of the school year
• When students are not following the agreed-upon rules
• Before beginning a new activity or unit
• Upon returning from a long break


Team Social Contracts

Small groups of students can use the same process as noted above to create a Team Social Contract.  This would work well during group activities or when assigning new table groups.

Individual Social Contracts

If the Classroom Contract is working for most students but not for specific individuals, create an individual contract for students who need one. This contract will not be shared with the entire class. It will allow the individual student to be held directly accountable for their actions and behavioral decisions.

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