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Weekly Challenge for #EnviroEd # 41 – Using Nature to Help Set Classroom Norms

August 31, 2014


Nature is the ultimate teacher of how to overcome all obstacles. ~ Tao te Ching 

The beginning of another year. And to myself it reminds me of the perfect EcoTourism adventure. It’s not a cruise with every hour of every day planned – instead I’m given the destination and can choose my own path. I can stop and reflect or take a new path as long as it is heading into the right direction.

However, any good trip does need some guidance and some expectations and in our class that leads the teacher to setting up goals and guidelines for classrooms norms.

When I go into classes I will often see a list upon the wall of norms that the teacher set up with the students in the first days of school. The rules are more often than not written collaboratively and listed prominently on a numbered list. For example:

  1. Listen carefully
  2. Raise your hand
  3. Be respectful
  4. Be responsible
  5. Be safe & consider others
  6. Take turns & share

Many the school board, like my own will have their own Character Attributes. And by its very definition, an ecological community, like a classroom or school community is bound together by the network of influences that individuals have on one another. A few years ago I created a program entitled Darwinian Thinking to Teamwork which is full of activities showing what business students in high school can learn from the natural world as well.

So, my challenge to you this week is to take those classroom norms and expectation and make them visual. Use the natural world to show your students and parents alike what is in store for them this year in an environmental education themed class space.

What can you and your students come up with? What examples, images or connections can you find? As always, I’d love for you to share!

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