Contracting is the process of openly discussing with your students expectations about how classroom members will treat each other. It is an effective strategy for making your classroom a reflective community. Reflective classroom communities are places where explicit rules and implicit norms protect everyone’s right to speak; where differing perspectives can be heard and valued; where members take responsibility for themselves, each other, and the group as a whole; and where each member has a stake and a voice in collective decisions. These type of classroom communities are usually created through deliberate nurturing from students and teachers who have shared expectations about how classroom members will treat each other. The instructions below describe how to discuss classroom norms with students and then draft and agree to a formal contract of behavior.
Students prepare for their study of Schindler's List by creating a contract establishing a thoughtful, respectful, and caring classroom community.