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Grade 2 Essential Agreement


Student agency is a central part of the PYP program. This is reflected in the importance that is attached to the students’ Essential Agreement. This is a core document that the students create at the beginning of the school year which outlines the behaviours and attitudes that are expected of them. Also, because it is an agreement, it is created by the students themselves, not imposed on them by the teacher; and all the students in the class must agree upon all of its content.

This week Grade 2 created their own Essential Agreement. It was a process that allowed every students voice to be heard and it gave every student the opportunity to shape their own learning environment.

First the students brainstormed what they shouldn’t do in class. This was easy and the students were able to quickly make a long list of all the things they shouldn’t do. Then the students were asked what they should do in class and this was more difficult. The students needed to reflect more on what they should do, so they were given paper and asked to think about what good behaviour is and what good students do in the classroom. When they had time to think about ideas for things they should do, the students put their paper on the whiteboard. Finally, the students thought about the reasons behind what they had come up with. Eventually the students worked as a group to turn their ideas into sentences which focused on positive actions and the reasons for doing them.

The 9 points that Grade 2 decided to put in their Essential Agreement are as follows:

  1. It is important to be safe so we will walk and act safely in class.
  2. It is important to use time well so we will do things at the right time.
  3. It is important to not hurt people so we will be nice to everyone.
  4. It is important to respect others so we will say thank you to everyone.
  5. It is important to learn things so we will work hard and listen to the teacher.
  6. It is important to be friendly so we will say good things to each other and we will help each other.
  7. It is important to be clean and tidy so we will clean up after ourselves and not make a mess.
  8. It is important to follow instructions so we will do as we are told.
  9. It is important to have good habits so we will sit up straight and look forward.

After the students had finished writing these 9 points, they created their Essential Agreement document which will be displayed prominently at the front of the classroom. Students took turns to write out the points on the computer, then they printed them out and stuck them on a large piece of coloured paper. Next, students were asked to add something that represented themselves and showed their own personality. Students drew the outline of their hand, and inside the hand they drew all their favourite things. After colouring them in and cutting them out, these were also put on the side of the Essential Agreement document.

Finally, the students performed a Signing Ceremony where they were asked to come to the front of the class one at a time. Each student had to raise his or her right hand and promise to follow the 9 points of the Essential Agreement. The students then signed the document, took some group photos with it and then put it on the wall next to the whiteboard at the front of the class.

The Essential Agreement is now an important reference point for the class. Students often refer back to it when discussing and reflecting on the behaviour of students in the class, and students are encouraged to think back to why they chose the 9 nine points of the Essential Agreement and why it’s important to keep their promise to follow them.

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