We're only two days into the new school year (okay, a day and a half), and already we are off to a great start. Why? Because we've built our social contract! Our what?
We start that very first week of school by constructing a social contract for our learning community. I ask for student input on what our learning and behavior expectations should be. Today, we have candid conversations about what respect looks like, both from the teacher and from students. When we talk about the classroom, it is our classroom and our learning community. We work together. It is not mine or yours. Our social contract is built on the collaborative conversations that we've had stemming from four key questions:
From these questions we end up talking about what respect looks like in our classroom, and we use this conversation to establish our learning and behavior expectations. Today, we got into some deep conversations about fairness and the differences between equal and equitable. We discussed balance, boundaries, and the need to hear from all voices in our community. Students volunteered the qualities that we needed visible on our social contract, and tomorrow when they walk in, we will all sign it. This is our commitment to one another, our commitment to this learning community. What a great place to begin!
An interest in helping young people discover and define their writing voice and reading interests drives Ms. Jennifer Ward to cultivate a student-centered learning environment, one that supports individual learning goals and incorporates purposeful use of technology. In March 2016, she was named a TED-Ed Innovative Educator and is also a Google Certified Innovator, National Writing Project Fellow, and a 2014 PASCD Emerging Leader. She is active in NCTE, the Flipped Learning Network, and an organizer with Edcamp. Jen taught for 13 years in a Philadelphia suburban district and returned to her home state to teach high school English at Ionia High School in 2015. This year, she is excited to join the Grandville High School bulldogs!