UE Update Sept 17-21: Would you let students run YOUR classroom?

a collaborative post by Kristina, Jenna, Brennah, and Noelle

What do you think?  Can students run a classroom?  …notice and discuss problems, and then come up with solutions?  …make their own rules?  …and do it in an organized way that respects and includes everyone’s opinion?  Sounds like a dream, right? Not here at KMS!

We all know our beloved pet snake, Elvis, but there has been talk in the class about getting a new pet friend. There’s also been talk about a Halloween spooktacular potluck! We have also been asking each other about Pizza Lunches.  You might be asking yourself, “Where are these ideas coming from, anyway?” Did you know, these things are largely thought up and organized by the students, with a bit of help from the teachers?  We run a democracy in UE most of the time. A democracy means rule by the people.  This is where the people can take part in the decisions that affect the way their community is run.  Sometimes the teachers have to make some of the decisions, but lots of the time, we can decide things for ourselves as a group.  If we practice making decisions now, then later on when we are older, and the decisions are really important, it won’t be such a new thing.  We will have had practice!  We use tools like voting, meetings and committees to make decisions.  Those are the same tools that adults use in their lives to decide things, so we might as well get good at them, now! Group work is hard, that’s for sure.  All sorts of things happen in committees.  If it’s an ‘everybody’ problem, it gets written on the agenda for the weekly meeting (on Friday morning).  If it’s something that only a few people are interested in doing, we make a committee, put up a sign-up sheet, and hold meetings.  We have to put the meeting on the class calendar, and then on the whiteboard at the start of the day, so that people know when the meeting is and can organized their day around it.  The committees meet and take notes, decide on actions, and give those jobs to people in the group.  Then we put the next meeting on the calendar.  Sometimes teachers come to these meetings, but mostly we do alright on our own.  Each week at the class meeting, the committees have a chance to report what they’ve been doing.   When we are the ones actually doing the work, it feels real and the students figure out how to problem solve and work together.

Photos from Red Pepper Jelly day!

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