Begin each activity by establishing "classroom ethics" so that students can feel safe to speak about their feelings and opinions.
Have Students Brainstorm a List of Classroom Ethics by Asking Them:
What do you need in order to feel comfortable and speak your opinions freely?
What are some things that we each need to feel a part of the classroom community?
Write Their Ideas on the Board or Make a List on a Large Piece of Paper. Examples Include:
Respect each other.
Only one person speaks at a time.
Listen to each other.
Everyone has a right to their own opinion.
Once a list is drawn up, review it together with the students, and have them agree to these guidelines for the duration of the class period in order to build a respectful environment. Some educators find it helpful to keep a list of classroom ethics posted in their room at all times. This can help students become accustomed to a respectful learning environment and use the ethics actively, by pointing to phrases or ideas at anytime students or teachers are not "living up" to their agreements. A posted list of ethics is a great way to maintain dialogue about mutual respect.