Once PJ left Partner-in-Crime (my awesome co-teacher) and I knew we needed to re-visit the rules and our classroom community. We adored PJ and worked hard to meet his needs, but from the uniformed kindergarten student's point of view it sure looked like we let him get away with a lot of behavior that just isn't ok for most kids. We wanted to remind our friends that it really, really is not ok to climb onto a shelf in the teacher's coat closet to hide, yet still wave your index finger out from behind the door screaming, "shut up stupid lady" as loud as possible. Yeah. Not really ok. Or breaking crayons into teeny tiny pieces to throw at the teacher. Not ok either.
So partner-in-crime came up with a fabulous idea, sort of a twist on the 'crumpled heart' idea from responsive classroom. Every year our kids come up with a team name. Last year they were the Magical Bloomers- (because kindergarten is magic and they were learning to bloom like Leo the Late Bloomer) . This year they came up with Team Golden.
To re-visit our rules and our community Partner-in-Crime made a huge gold poster and had all the kids sign their names. She put it up in the front of the class and had all the children ohhh and ahhhh over it's fabulous shiny color (it's amazing what works in kindergarten).
Then her voice got soft and dark. She began talking about things that could happen in our classroom like when children push each other, or call each other mean names, or *gasp* don't share. For each tragic kindergarten event she quickly placed a black piece of paper over the golden poster. In the end the entire shiny gold was covered in black.
The class sat silently staring at what had been a beautiful, shiny, eye catching poster.
Then partner-in-crime's voice changed. She calmly and warmly began talking about ways the class could fix the problems, what they could do to remember to share- what they could do instead of pushing. Each solution meant a child could come up and take a black piece of paper off our puzzle to make it shiny again.
Now the poster is hanging up behind the easel. When something happens that just "isn't golden" all Partner-in-Crime has to do is silently pick up a black piece of paper and put it over the golden poster. "Let's see if we can be golden again" she whispers, and the class silently watches the poster, fixing their behavior so we can eventually take the black piece down.
It's magic and worked beautifully in re-integrating our class with our rules post-PJ.