Our post about establishing our Ridicule Free Zone classroom lesson ended with these words, “It would be so nice if Ridicule Free Zones spread from classrooms to schools, to small towns to, as one child up it, a ridicule free world.” As a step toward that goal, the second portion of this lesson suggests that the Ridicule Free Zone can by supported by a student-produced constitution of caring.
Our revered U.S. Constitution begins with this preamble:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
It sets the tone for what is to come and establishes the beliefs on which the laws of the United States will be based. What would the preamble of your classroom constitution look like? How would it reflect the classroom agreements you established in the earlier lesson about the Caring Being?
“We, the class of ____, in order to form a ridicule free classroom, promise to…”
Of course, the founding fathers met to write the U.S. Constitution in a Constitutional Convention. We see classroom meetings as the space and vehicle for your classroom constitution of caring to be created and become a living document. In this activity, we’re concerned about children feeling pressured to agree to something that their teacher wants as opposed to creating a document that is theirs, that they truly agree to, so it is particularly important that each student feels that he or she has a voice in this process.
Creating a Constitution of Caring
Like the U.S. Constitution, your classroom constitution should reflect both rights and responsibilities, which makes it a powerful activity for Bullying Prevention Month. Remember, this is a Constitution of Caring, not just a listing of classroom rules. At the root of this process is empathy, establishing not only what is good for oneself, but understanding the feelings of others and acting in consideration of those feelings. What do we promise to each other to create the ridicule free zone where all of us can thrive?
There are so many great resources to support this lesson! Obviously, the connections to your social studies and history content are strong so we’ve provided several links in the “curricular connections” section of the lesson to help you expand your students’ understanding. We also encourage you to explore additional lessons and activities on empathy and on civic learning from some of our favorite websites and organizations as prelude and as follow up to creating a Constitution.
Please share your ideas and stories about how you get from here to there in creating a Constitution of Caring! We’ll post them to our Facebook page. Please assure that there is parental permission for photos or videos and send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.