Creating co-constructed essential agreements for a meaningful start to the year

What are essential agreements?

Essential agreements are a class consensus that will guide our behavioural and learning expectations throughout the year. How do we learn best? How can we grow as learners? How can we reach our best potential as a class?

 It is definitely important to start the year off on the right note – which makes it worth the while to spend enough time on framing constructive and meaningful essential agreements with the students and for the students. If these agreements are mutually constructed and not imposed as rules on the students, they will definitely take ownership in adhering to them.

How did we create the essential agreements ?

I created a Wakelet lesson plan for co-constructing essential agreements with students.

The tremendous advantage of using Wakelet was that

– my instructions for the class,
– resources and links I wanted to share and
– student collaboration

all happened at one place. I’m sure all of us know the pain of sharing links on different tabs, looking for and then sharing resources or videos – the struggle is real!

Wakelet sure made my life easy in this regard – and its ease of use is fantastic! A must have tool in every teacher’s repertoire.

Back to the essential agreements – here is what I did

  • I first shared a video link with students and asked them to make connections between what they observed in the video and with how our class should be. They discussed in small groups first (breakout rooms) and then shared their thoughts with the class.

Derek Redmond-You raise me up – YouTube

  • Students made some relevant observations about how we can do better when we help and support each other, how everyone needs to be motivated and encouraged when they are down. I felt this formed a good base for forming some constructive behavioural expectations for the class
  • The next step was a discussion around the Learner Profile attributes.
  • The purpose was twofold –
    • establishing that the Learner Profile and the dispositions subsumed within them are an essential element of the PYP framework and would guide us throughout our learning journey, and
    • framing essential agreements around some of these attributes, the awareness and development of which would help each one of us achieve our true potential
  • Co-constructing the essential agreements meant involving the students to express their understanding of what the Learner Profile attributes mean to them and how they can grow as learners through the display of these. The students chose the attributes they would like to focus on to begin with.
  • The next part of the activity was a Mentimeter activity – each student shared 2 words or phrases indicating what they would like their classroom to look like.
  • I would love for my classroom to be all this and more 🙂 and hope I can live up to these expectations
What our classroom will look like
  • Based on these insights and expression of intent from my students – I framed the following essential agreements for my class. A student volunteered to create this beautiful Canva slides for the same
  • I felt Math deserved and needed its own essential agreements – so here goes

Essential agreements for Math

  • We will articulate our thinking process while solving math sums, showing our working in an organised manner
  • We will be courageous by actively participating in math classes – asking questions and clarifying our doubts
  • We will make real life connections wherever possible to make math fun and more interesting
  • We will be open-minded and explore different strategies in math, and then use the ones we are most comfortable with
  • We will reflect and make adjustments to our learning where required

Concluding on a poetic note 🙂

We hope to have a great year, full of learning and fun

Nurturing our curiosity, of everything under the sun

We will grow together as learners, and enjoy a lot of thrills

Building our knowledge, concepts and skills

This is an exciting journey, come join us in our quest

As enthusiastic travellers, we are truly blessed

4 thoughts on “Creating co-constructed essential agreements for a meaningful start to the year

  1. Superb. Very well taken forward.We also did the same thing with our students using Google slides and breakout rooms.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You should be an advisor to the Education Minister. What more can I say or in Harvard or Yale University. Running out of words , children will learn more and more from you and will be benefitted. My best wishes and success in all that you do .

    Liked by 1 person

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