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Golden Rules.... a Treaty of Respect

Here in NZ we tend to cover The Treaty of Waitangi each year as we work together to establish our classroom rules. Invariably, we end up coming to an agreement and each child 'signs' it to show that they will support and uphold what they have discussed. Each year, I inwardly groan at how boring my class treaty always ends up looking. That is, until I came across this .jpg on Pintrest. It got me thinking... perhaps we could create a set of 'golden' rules.... rules that are displayed around a sun... and the rays of the sun were our handprints... and our handprints were our pledge to uphold the rules. I pitched the idea to the kids and they LOVED it. Each day we painted large sheets of newsprint in a messy, Eric Carle kind of way. Just pour the paint straight on the paper and get the kids to go mad. Geez, it was fun! I have since learned a good lesson: don't use newsprint. It's too flimsy. Go for something a little thicker. With a little help I got the background and sun hung on the ugliest section of the classroom I could find. It's up high, it's ugly and it is otherwise un-useable. Win-win. We typed up the rules we decided on and added them to the mural, along with clouds and our handprints (which we signed with a sharpie). I had HEAPS of blue paper left over in a slightly different shade. So I used them to cut out the letters across the bottom. In case you can't see, it says: "We understand that in RM15...". All rules are phrased in a positive manner. I believe that this is really important. Nobody likes to hear what they CAN'T do... lets tell them what they CAN DO!
We are now working on unpacking our rules to see what they actually look like in practice. Each day we re-cap our rules and talk in depth about a new one. Each day I look up at our class mural and do a quick round of 'jazz hands'. I am in love.


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