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How-To: Manage Your Classroom
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How To: Manage Your Classroom
NYC Helpline: Manage Your Classroom

Creating a Meaningful Contract for Your Class Benna Golubtchik

At any age, students benefit from knowing what you expect from them. They are entitled to know their rights, responsibilities, and what they need to do to achieve the grade they desire. Students who want to succeed will know exactly how to do so. When you outline your requirements, parents become your partners as well. You will be perceived as fair, consistent, and even-handed. I will outline the rationale for the two-part contract, and provide you with a sample I currently use with my high school math classes.

The contract is a good place to remind your students that you are approachable, and that they can come to you should the need arise. Your fair and consistent outline also identifies you as a real person.

By explaining to your students their rights and responsibilities, you are telling them what is acceptable behavior in your class. If they have the right to an orderly class, you will not tolerate disorderly behavior, from them or anyone else. You won't allow any student to interfere with the learning of the other members of the class. 

A consistent grading policy is extremely important. I have chosen to identify three main areas that compose my grade. One third of my grade is composed of classwork and homework. Everything the student does in class is graded, including group assignments and worksheets. In my school, getting students to do homework is always a challenge. If someone has never done any homework, the highest grade they can achieve is 85% (losing approximately 1/6 
of the grade). This has served as an impetus for many to do the assignments.

Quizzes and tests make up the second third of my grade. Yet, my hard workers who freeze on tests know they will not be penalized severely if they participate in all other phases of the work. This policy levels the playing field.

Lastly, I include attendance and punctuality, preparedness, cooperation, respect, and quality of effort in my grades. I'm sure we've all had smart students who are good test takers, but don't cooperate or feel they need to be part of the class. I want these positive qualities to become part of the daily routine, and I reward them. Students know that if they do not work 
well with others, even if they complete their assignments, they will be penalized. Poor attendance creates fewer opportunities to gather points. I incorporate these behaviors in my grading sheet, which allows me to keep good records. (See "How to Keep Good Records."). 

There is always an opportunity to do something extra to gain bonus points. I encourage students to go out of their way to help someone, ask a thought-provoking question, or volunteer, to gain bonus points. 

I ask for three signatures (student, parent, teacher) on each contract. This encourages parental involvement, and gives you a solid starting point when a student wishes to question a grade. I have had very few problems with student challenges, because I am always able to show exactly how my grades were determined. I have found this method to be a wonderful organization tool.

My contract is posted prominently in my classroom, and I point to it often. When students and parents know what is expected of them, they will find it easier to work within your class structure. 

Sample Contract

How to Succeed in Mrs. Golubtchik's Class

Welcome to math class. The success we shall experience together is directly proportional to the effort we put into this class. 

Rights and Responsibilities

1. You have the right to a safe and orderly classroom. Every effort will be made to provide an atmosphere that promotes learning.

2. You are responsible for being a good citizen in our classroom community. 
A good citizen: 
a. Respects the rights of others.
b. Respects the property of others.
c. Recognizes that there can be more than one acceptable point of view.
d. Listens to others with respect.
e. Disagrees appropriately.
f. Accepts constructive criticism.
g. Observes the rules of safety and classroom management.
h. Maintains a positive self-concept.

3. You are responsible to come to class on time prepared to begin work.

4. You must provide your own notebook, pens, and pencils. 

5. A folder to hold your work will be given to you.

6. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to make up the assignments.

7. If you have a question or problem, please talk to me or write me a note. I can be flexible if I understand the situation.

Grading Policy

1. Everything you do in class counts toward your grade. Your grade will be based on three important components:
a. 1/3 of your grade will be based on assignments, including all classwork, 
journals, and homework. Your teacher will work with you on a reasonable calendar of assignments.
b. 1/3 of your grade will be based on your grades on quizzes and tests.
c. 1/3 of your grade will be based on your behavior and social interaction. 
This will include Punctuality, Being Prepared, Cooperation and Respect, Quality of Work, Conduct, and Homework. You will be graded on these items each day. This is a good way to improve your mark.

2. Bonus points will be given often. They can improve your grade and give you extra rewards and privileges. You can earn bonus points by:

a. Performing Random Acts of Kindness.
b. Helping another student.
c. Asking an especially thoughtful question.
d. Giving a very clever and intelligent answer.
e. Performing a classroom duty.

3. Each marking period will be averaged into the next. Everything counts.

4. You have the "Power of Choice" to make good decisions. Every effort will be made to provide greater levels of responsibility to those who have earned it.


Let's make this a fun term!

Sincerely,
Mrs. Golubtchik



I have read this document and agree to its terms.


___________________________________________________
Signature of student


___________________________________________________
Signature of parent


___________________________________________________
Signature of teacher

 

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