Download our classroom contract resources to use with your students, today!
A classroom contract is such a great tool to have up your sleeve! Not only will it help you set the tone at the beginning of the year, but it will help build classroom community and a positive classroom environment for all learners.
What exactly is a classroom contract?
Also known as a social contract, class contracts are classroom rules that are thought up and signed by the whole class. A classroom contract is a great way to initiate conversations around culture and respect, but it is also super important for behavior management as it sets up the classroom’s behavior expectations.
Want to start using classroom contracts? No worries! We’ve compiled some tips and tricks to help you create your best classroom contract. If you’re already a pro, check out our colorful, Kami-ready templates and jump right in 🙌
1. Get your learners on board
While classroom contracts make complete sense to teachers, students may need a little more convincing at first. Make sure you get their buy-in before starting so they too feel invested in the process and the end result! Try changing up some of the language used; so rather than calling them “class rules” try something like “classroom expectations” or “guardrails”.
2. Ask questions and give examples
To make sure everyone is on the same page, start with 2-4 key questions you want to cover when building your social contract with your class. Perhaps you want to ask them what a great classroom looks, sounds, and feels like. Or maybe you want them to consider how they want to be treated and how they want to treat their peers. You can also provide examples to get your students thinking about how they would feel in certain scenarios.
3. Include everyone
Like many class activities, there are going to be some learners who find it hard to speak up or share their ideas. To make sure everyone is heard, try setting up pieces of paper around the classroom with a key question on each one. Give each student a pad of sticky notes to write their ideas on, to then stick under the relevant question. For example, “Be kind” might be stuck under “How do you want to treat your classmates?”. From here you can have a class vote to select your top rules or split into small groups for each to pick out their top three!
4. Make it permanent and visible
Once the whole class has agreed on the rules, it’s time to turn it into a contract. You can do this on a physical piece of paper, or digitally in Kami! The benefit of using an app is that it becomes editable, students can access it at any time, and they can share it with their families too (a great way to build culture beyond the classroom!). Get all students to sign the contract, and don’t forget to sign it yourself, of course. When it’s ready to go, print it out and stick it up in the classroom for all to see (and any other important areas such as the cloakroom).
5. Turn it into a ritual
The benefits of a classroom contract go beyond the back-to-school period. They are a great form of classroom management as you can continuously refer to them throughout the year and challenge your students to see if they are meeting classroom expectations. It’s also important to set up semi-regular check-ins, to gauge how students are feeling about the contract, and whether they feel like anything needs to be added or addressed. This is super important after a break to make sure all learners come back into the class with the same mindset and respect. Using an editable format is your best bet if you plan to do this!
6. It’s never too late to start
Whether you set up your contract up on the first day or the fifth week, it’s never too late to start! A positive learning environment is key to student success, so, if you realize halfway through the year that a classroom contract is what you’re missing, jump in and give it a go! It doesn’t matter how old your students are either. Whether you’re teaching Kindergarten or High School, everyone can benefit from a classroom contract.
Like what you’ve been reading? We’ve recorded a whole podcast episode on the topic of building a positive classroom with Kinder-hearted Classroom‘s very own, Elizabeth Coller. Together, we cover a bunch of useful tips, tricks and inspo; from student “shout-outs” to social contracts, and much, much more!