Within the context of studying student rights and responsibilities in a school environment, this unit gives students the opportunity to participate in the development of some classroom rules. After creating the rules, the students will also participate in monitoring the rules through participation in a classroom council that will hear complaints and recommend needed changes. This unit deals with the philanthropic themes of public discourse and problem solving, ennobled self, doing and activism, democratic renewal and commonwealth.
Students will learn how to write "law" for the common good by identifying constitutionally recognized student rights and responsibilities, identifying individual behaviors that interfere with those rights, and writing rules to protect those rights. Students will also practice the skills needed for self-government by monitoring the rules as part of a classroom council.
The learner will:
- be able to identify some students' rights that have been recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court
- be able to explain the concept of jurisdiction as it relates to creating classroom rules in a public school setting.
- create a list of the most important rights in a classroom.
- identify and list specific student behaviors that interfere with student rights.
- write between five and ten specific rules to assure that rights are protected.
- debate and then vote on a single set of rules that will be used in several different classrooms.
- monitor the success of the rules in protecting rights and make adjustments when deemed necessary by the majority.
Although lessons in this unit contain service project examples, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.
The students will experience self-government throughout this unit as they first write and then monitor rules affecting themselves and others in a real-life situation. Their individual action will affect the common good and will be a part of determining the success of the community as a whole.
- During the three days of initial lessons, the assessment will be based upon:
- the ability of students to respond orally to teacher questions about material covered in the previous days' work, and,
- the ability of students working in groups to create lists of rights, problem behaviors and appropriate rules for classroom conduct.
- Students will keep an ongoing journal reflecting on the process and recording suggestions for changes in the rules. A minimum of five pages will be required.
- At the end of the semester, the students will be assigned an essay in which they will be asked to do the following:
- Explain the relationship between rights and rules in a society.
- Identify at least two specific rules created by the class, explain which rights those rules were intended to protect, and analyze whether or not the rules were successful in protecting those rights.
- Suggest future changes in the creation of class rules that would more successfully protect collective rights.
Notes for Teaching:
This unit requires the teacher to share his/her rule-making jurisdiction with the students. Each teacher will have to decide how many teacher-generated rules he/she will need in order to have a comfortable working environment. Attempt to keep the teacher-generated rules to a minimum so students feel ownership in the majority of the classroom rules.
State Curriculum and Philanthropy Theme Frameworks:
See individual lessons for benchmark detail.