Healthy Learning Community: PBA 1 Co-constructing a Plan for a Healthy Learning Community[1]

Purpose: Building relationships and defining how a class will work together is an essential foundation of any learning community.  In a class that asks students to draw on their experiences to define their cultural, academic and professional identity, the safety of that classroom for all class members becomes even more important.  

Task: Students identify elements of and participate in co-creating a plan for a healthy learning community that respects diverse members and supports all to take risks for understanding.

Applying the Lessons of Classroom Management Together

  1. Community Building Leading to Initial Classroom Agreements: In the opening days of school students build actively relationships, community and sense of trust.  In the context of the gallery of community building questions, students generate an initial list of the elements they need to build a healthy learning community. They return to this the following day to add to and refine their initial agreements. These agreements can be signed and posted in the room and should be revisited periodically to assess how well the class is doing in meeting the expectations and whether they need to be refined.

  1. Defining Elements of Our Classroom Community: Following a series of activities around essential elements of the classroom (Seen Heard, Felt Observation, Cognitive Content Dictionary, Essential Elements), students will build off their individual lists of ideas to co-construct how they want their shared classroom to operate.  This co-construction can be done by brainstorming each element together (or using a gallery to summarize) and then assigning teams for each element to formalize a proposal to be presented to the class for a decision.

  1. Individual Reflection: Once a shared plan for the class is complete, ask each student to complete an individual written reflection:  

  1. Application to My Future Classroom: As a culminating discussion, ask students to discuss how this plan is similar to and different from an elementary classroom.

Elements of OUR

Healthy Classroom[2]

How does this work in our classroom?

Belonging (Rituals): How do we make this class our own?

Identity (Relationships): How do we build relationships to know and value each other?

Diversity (Collaboration): How are we alike and how are we different, and how does that help us to achieve our purposes?

Organization (Routines): What systems are in place to help the class run smoothly? 

Purpose (Goals):  How do individuals and groups meet their goals?

Rights & Responsibilities (Discipline): What can I expect from the teacher, my peers, myself? What happens when expectations are not met?

Communication (Professional / Interpersonal): What works, what doesn’t, what do I /we need to do to work together?

Leadership (Action): What strengths do I bring to this community and work and how will I contribute?

[1] Timmons Flores, M. (2015)  Developed for Recruiting Washington Teachers Curriculum.

[2] Timmons Flores, M. (2015) Developed for Recruiting Washington Teachers – Careers In Education Curriculum.