The students cooperatively develop a classroom belief statement that serves as their classroom constitution. The students are involved in the creation of the statement using cooperative learning groups, the Price Laboratory School (PLS) Guidelines for Success and a review of the United States Constitution, Bill of Rights. The PLS Guidelines for Success is used as a basis for the classroom belief statement.
· The students will cooperatively create a classroom belief statement.
· The students will understand that the United States
Bill of Rights is the foundation of all rights given to
citizens of the United States.
· The students will learn how to use a consensogram
to gain consensus as a group.
OBJECTIVES (Learning and Behavioral):
- The students will cooperatively create a classroom belief statement.
- The students will understand that the United States Bill of Rights is the foundation of all rights given to citizens of the United States.
- The students will learn how to use a consensogram to gain consensus as a group.
Civics Standard 1: Understands ideas about civic life, politics, and government
United States History Standard 8: Understands the institutions and practices of government created during the Revolution and how these elements were revised between 1787 and 1815 to create the foundation of the American political system based on the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights
The students cooperatively develop a classroom belief statement that serves as their classroom constitution. Each student is involved in the creation of the statement using cooperative learning groups, the Price Laboratory School (PLS) Guidelines for Success and a review of the United States Constitution, Bill of Rights. The PLS Guidelines for Success is used as a basis for the classroom belief statement.
Introduction and Background of beliefs and U.S. Bill of Rights
1) Ask the students; “What is a belief?” How can we find out what a belief is?
Student: Use the Language Master
Belief: “Something believed”
2) Use the online dictionary http://www.dictionary.com/ to compare and discuss the differences between the definitions.
3) Tell the students, “We have a set of “beliefs” in the United States regarding how citizens should be treated. Does anyone know what these beliefs are called?”
4) Student: “The Bill of Rights”
5) Let’s use the mobile lab to find out what the Bill of Rights can do for us.
At this time we will look at several Web sites that list the United States Bill of Rights.
National Archives Charters of Freedom Web Page -The History of the Bill of Rights
Text of the Bill of Rights
Summary of the Bill of Rights from the Yale Law School
Scanned Photo of the Bill of Rights
Creating the Classroom Belief Statement
1) Tell the students we will create a classroom belief statement and together we will decide what should be part of our belief statement.
2) We will be using the PLS Guidelines for Success to develop five (5) statements that will serve as our classroom belief statement or classroom Bill of Rights.
3) First, Review all of the PLS Guidelines for Success with the students. They will review each of the PLS Guidelines for Success from the Web site
Respect, Responsibility, Attitude, Honesty and Integrity
During the review we will discuss what each guideline might look like and what it would sound like in our classroom.
4) Give each group one of the Guidelines for Success. In their groups their job will be to write a one-sentence statement about that word on chart paper that will be shared with the group the next day.
Example:” Respectful people respect other people’s feelings and property.”
5) Give each group time to work (15 mins.) Move around the room to answer questions. Each group should have a sentence that describes their Guideline for Success word assigned to their group.
1) Review what the Bill of Rights is and what it gives us. Review how the students described the Bill of Rights.
2) Review the group process from the previous day. Things to note: Bill of Rights, PLS Guidelines for Success, the group work and other important points that were brought up during the previous day’s activity.
1) Each group comes up to the front and presents their statement to the class on chart paper and the guideline is displayed on the chalkboard
2) After each group presents their statement a class consensogram is conducted for each statement.
Each student is given a rating note which they write 0,1,2,3,4,5.
0= strongly disagree and 5=strongly agree.
Each student places their note on the consensogram on the board. Following the placing of the rating notes the students look at how the rating appears on the consensogram.
3) Open a discussion about what students liked about the wording of the guideline statement. If there are some who disagreed with the statement discuss how a change could be made to allow all to be happy with the statement.
4) Once all statements have been approved the classroom belief statement is read to the students and displayed in the classroom.
Material and Resources:
Wireless computer lab
Franklin Language Master Speaking dictionary, Thesaurus, and Grammar Guide
Building a Classroom Belief Statement Word List Sheet
Chart paper with number line drawn from 1 to 5
PLS Guidelines for Success Signs or other key words that will guide students throughout the school year.
Numbered cards to assist in the grouping of students.
U.S. National Archives & Records Administration. (2002). National Archives Charters of Freedom. [Online]. Available: http://www.archives.gov/exhibit_hall/charters_of_freedom/
bill_of_rights/bill_of_rights.html [2002, September 3].
The ten original amendments: The bill of rights. [Online]. Available:http://www.cs.indiana.edu/statecraft/cons.bill.html [2002, September 3].
The Avalon Project at Yale Law School. (1996). Constitution of the United .States: Bill of Rights. Boston, MA: Yale University. [Online]. Available:http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/rights1.htm [2002, September 3].
The Bill of Rights
[Online]. Available:http://www.law.emory.edu/FEDERAL/pict/bill.jpg [2002, September 3].
Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. (2002). Dictionary.com. [Online]. Available: http//www.dictionary.com [2002, September 3].
Evaluation and Assessment:
Ask the students the following questions to assess their knowledge of the United States Bill of Rights and to allow them to show their understanding of how the classroom Belief Statement is similar to the Bill of Rights for United States citizens. This can be done in a class discussion format or a paper and pencil response.
How does the United States Bill of Rights protect United States citizens?
How will our Classroom Bill of Rights protect or help us?
“The classroom belief statement will guide our classroom throughout this school year.”
1.Malcolm Price Laboratory School (PLS) is located on the University of Northern Iowa campus in a Northeastern Iowa city of approximately 35,000. It is a school that serves 545 students of low to high socioeconomic status in grades from Nursery/Kindergarten to grade twelve. 23% of the student population is made up of African American, Pacific Islander, Asian and Hispanic students. PLS also houses a child development center which serves students from six months to five years of age.
PLS maintains an agreement with the city public schools that allows city students to attend the school and also benefits from the State of Iowa law that allows students to “open enroll” to schools districts in which they do not reside. Open enrollment accounts for 26% of the PLS student population.
2.The class was composed of students who ranged in abilities from third to eighth grade in reading and mathematics skills. Multi-ethnic groups were represented in the classroom. Two students need to be closely monitored to make sure they take home the appropriate materials for study.
3.The students will cooperatively create a classroom belief statement.
The students will understand that the United States Bill of Rights is the foundation of all rights given to citizens of the United States.
The students will learn how to use a consensogram to gain consensus as a group.
4.Civics Standard 1: Understands ideas about civic life, politics, and government
United States History Standard 8: Understands the institutions and practices of government created during the Revolution and how these elements were revised between 1787 and 1815 to create the foundation of the American political system based on the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
5. Tenets of Democracy: Choose ONE that you have agreed is most dominant in this lesson and respond to it. If you have two, and are not sure which is stronger, please respond to both.
In this lesson I wanted to replicate, to a small extent, what the framers of the United States Constitution did so long ago. I wanted the students to have an idea what being involved in civic decisions is like, to experience a small part of democracy. I want them to live by the rules they made.
Each student had to show Individual Responsibility and Civil Involvement with others in that they had to work in a group to come up with a guideline. Then each group had to agree on a statement and present it to the class. The class had to work together to create their own class Bill of Rights.
6.The assessment plan is ongoing all of the time. The classroom Bill of Rights is used to assess the students behavior all of the time. Referring back to the Bill of Rights is a constant process and the students are held to the beliefs they created for themselves.
Analysis of Student Learning
7.Many students have improved their behavior and their relationships with others in the classroom by adhering to the classroom belief statement or Bill of Rights. Specifically, one student has had a wonderful year. This student has shown a dramatic improvement in behavior from the beginning of the school year until now.
8.I didn’t have to modify the original plan for this lesson. The students took the information, followed the directions and made group decisions very well. I would have modified the introduction if I did this lesson again.
9.Reflection and Self-Evaluation
The students were very successful in this lesson. They worked together very well which allowed them to be able to succeed and develop a wonderful classroom belief statement. The goal of working together was definitely a strong aspect with this lesson.
In the future I would speed up the pace of the introductory part of the lesson. As I reflected on the lesson I felt that the lesson didn’t gain as much momentum from the introduction as I had anticipated. Overall, I am very happy with the process of the lesson and how the students reacted to it.
I keep the parents informed about what is going on in the classroom by writing a weekly newsletter, making frequent phone calls, sending notes home in assignment books and conferencing.