tools for a caring classroom society
I believe classrooms are important because they are microcosms.
As students and teachers, we spend most of our waking hours in these microscopic societies, where - through the ways we treat each other and spend our time - we are, both, making and being made.
In this sense, what happens inside the classroom is as important as what comes out of it or happens outside of it.
We decided that our skin is important and created skincare.
What would happen if we decided that our classroom - the people and the interactions it houses - is important?
How would we, then, take care of it?
What would the classroom care moisturizer be like?
And what processes within the classroom would help people feel cared for, valued, respected, supported and “good”?
The presented collection of tools is my first attempt at answering some of these questions.
All of the tools are open-source and in-need of testing/ improvement/ rethinking/ adaptation. I invite you to join the Classroom Care design team and send feedback/ ideas to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
My _____ class knows my name
asks you to: Pair up. Ask your classmate to tell you their name and a story of/about their name. Listen to and write down their story. Repeat the process for your name, too. Share each other’s name stories with the rest of the class.
could be: a 30-60 mins, in-class exercise to foster care - in this case, care of getting to know each other and each others’ names - in classroom/s.
asks you to: Put all of your eyes on the same level. As a group, see the world from somebody else’s height of view. Spend some time in this position.
could be: a 5-∞ mins, in-class empathy-building and knee-bending/toe-standing exercise.
asks you to: Come up with a motto to put on a Care Banner in your classroom to make it more caring. As a class, throughout the semester, make sure to feature each of the submitted mottos on an actual - big (34x24 inches), wall-hanging, canvas - Care Banner in your classroom.
could be: a visual aid to help you remember and practice caring behaviors within your classroom/s.
asks you to: Draw and label an overhead map of the classroom/s you spend time in this semester, showing furniture and people - students, teachers, etc. Additionally, asks you to write down a few things you noticed about your classroom arrangement/s.
could be: an exercise in becoming aware of the spatial arrangements we take for granted, and speculating about the kinds of relational arrangements - behaviors, dynamics - these spatial arrangements might be bringing into existence.