Cooperatively working together to create a set of beliefs and promises shared by a class using a class motto is a powerful experience that serves as a foundation for a positive and meaningful learning environment. Creating a class motto is one of my favourite moments as I look back at my teaching career. Every year, it proves to be a very meaningful activity that always brings the students together and creates a sense of pride from the moment the motto is said as a class.
During our first week, I had the students work in groups and use graffiti as a strategy to write their ideas about what they believe our classroom should look, feel, and sound like. This is an activity from the “Heart and Art of Teaching and Learning” which I have successfully used with my classes every year. Groups then discuss the ideas they brainstormed about their ideal classroom and begin sharing and deciding on the ones they believe are most important. As a class, we create a list using a graphic organizer and then regroup once more to come up with principles that will bring about the feelings, sounds, and “look” of our dream classroom. This is how our A-Team Classroom Code of Conduct (the class voted on the title) is created. As part of their daily reflection question in their journal, students choose which principle is most important to them. This year the overwhelming choice was “We have a ton of fun exploring and learning.”
Our class motto then comes together using the three or four most important principles from our Class Code of Conduct. These are voted on by the students. When it is all said and done, we sit back and proudly read it aloud together. It is one of those moments in the school year that I most treasure. Each day, after morning announcements and the national anthem, we repeat our A-Team Class Motto and then dive into having a ton of fun exploring and learning!