Dana Labarry, a fifth grade teacher in Nevada
On the first day of school, I meet my students wearing a hard hat that says, “Room 35 Construction Crew.” I discuss with the students how starting a new school year is like building a house:
- the foundation is the relationships we have with other people in the school (other classes, the office staff, other teachers, etc.),
- the frame is the relationships we have with our own classmates, and
- the interior is the decorations in our classroom and around the school.
We discuss how important each of these elements is to making our school successful and how if one part of our building falls down, the house won't stand up. Then, we talk about building codes that regulate the building of houses. The students then come up with their own building code for our classroom (i.e., rules). Throughout the year, whenever we are having a problem in the classroom, I talk to the students about how the house we have built is not working right and might collapse. We go back and talk about the building code, which is a much more interesting way to discuss classroom rules.