Children learn about a formal promise-keeping arrangement: a contract. They prepare a contract concerning classroom rules and commit to uphold it.
- one large sheet of paper
- one felt-tip marker
- copies of the “Class Rules Contract” handout (one for each student)
Ask the children if they know what a “contract” is. Through class discussion, help them understand that it is an agreement and a special kind of promise. Say: A contract is made when two or more people discuss a particular situation, decide what to do about that situation, and then promise each other they will do it. An oral contract is one that is spoken; the people tell each other what they will do. There are also written contracts. The people write what they will do, and then sign their names. Explain that signing one’s name to a written contract means that you agree with what is written and you promise to do what it says.
Prepare a written contract for the class. Have the children choose the most important rules – rules they all agree to uphold. (Emphasize that it is up to each child to suggest changes if they don’t agree with or isn’t prepared to abide by certain rules.) List these on a large piece of paper. Then write, “I will follow these rules at school” (or wherever appropriate). Sign the contract yourself, and ask each of them to sign it. Post the contract in a conspicuous place to remind everyone of the commitments they made.
In addition to, or instead of the class contract, you might have each child make up their own document. Copy the “Class Rules Contract” or create your own. Have each child fill in the blanks with commitments they agree to keep. Then, sign your names. Have the kids take these documents home for parents’ signatures.
Adapted from “Life / Liberty / Law,” by Carol Roach (Center for Educational Research and Service, Emporia State University, Emporia, KS). Used with permission.