Everyone has a code that they live by in some way. We have them in our personal lives, the business world definitely has them; so why should a school be any different? The key to a successful Code of Cooperation in a classroom is how you come up with your Code and make sure it is a way for the class to "make their shared vision come true", as a kindergartener once told me.
There is a great book called Tool Time for Education that has a fantastic 2 page summary of what it is and the process (along with 59 other useful, quick-to-implement tools).
What is a Code of Cooperation?
In a classroom, you may think of it a list of your class promises.
It's a list of statements created by a team, which identifies the factors necessary for a high degree of cooperation.
Here's a link to a school website that has some good examples of a Codes, including the picture below.
First, any type of group brainstorming begins with questions of how the class should look, sound and feel like would work.
You may start with those questions to a group, then the teacher would writes the answers on the board or chart paper.
If you have older students, you may want to have everyone write answers on a sticky note, then place them on a corresponding chart paper with each question posted on them. The ways to get feedback is open to the teacher's or students' imagination. As long as you do this activity as a group where everyone has the chance to participate, the group will feel like they've had their voices heard.
Once you get everyone's ideas, you can vote as a class to rank the choices from most important to least important. An activity called "Hot Dot" or "Power Voting" is a good one for this process. All you do is give everyone a certain number of stickers (the round multicolored stickers are an affordable option), then have them put a sticker next to their top 3 choices. Then you can tally up the dots to see which ones are the most important. Make sure everyone agrees with your final list before making it "official."
PAWS, for example, stands for Prepared at all time, Acting Responsible, Working to do our best, and Showing respect.
Teachers then have the kids describe actions that would demonstrate each of the descriptors. What is being prepared, what is showing respect, etc.
The numbered matrices above use a 1-4 proficiency scale so students can rate themselves on their behavior. This is great for collecting data! You'd be surprised how honest they will be! On the scales above, 3 is expected or "proficient" and 4 is above and beyond. The 2 and the 1 can be the "sometimes" and "not at all" sections.
Remember, this code is to help the class to understand how they are going to meet the vision they created first. It's the class to-do list, so don't forget to review it daily and rate yourself to see how well you are doing.
If you'd like more information on behavior matrices or proficiency scales in general, please come back! We'll be posting on these topics soon.
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