Independent thinking and decision making = giving students the opportunity to shine.
It’s the last week of term, you are tired and ready for that much needed holiday break. What can you do that will keep your students thinking and focused?
Let your students plan a Personal Contract Day. This is a wonderful day for students – really great in the last week of term if you have lots of jobs to do in your room, it frees you up for the day. The students are responsible for the whole day, the preparation and the implementation. All you have to supply is the time. Students will be using ‘real life’ mathematics, questions, negotiation and organization skills to plan their Contract Day.
The day before you plan to have a contract day explain the concept of Contract Day, the meaning of commitment and responsibility required to complete a signed contract. This is the day the students prepare their contract.
Discuss and record a few ideas for Contract Day. The students will have plenty. Every student must rule up their contract page and plan their day on A4 paper. The students write the time they will start each of their chosen activities – lots of time allocations to be negotiated especially if you put in some Must Do’s e.g. Must Do 15 minutes of Independent reading, 20 minutes working on an open ended math’s task, learn a short poem, whole class game outside at 10:30. NOTE: Students decide what time to complete the MUST DOS- you decide if it will be a full day of activities or a half day.
Students can have the option of bringing games from home, drawing, computers, (may need a mini timetable for that, the student can work that out – 30 minutes each is adequate), a mini project, whatever worthwhile activity ideas they come up with for the day.
Watch the students planning, negotiating activities to work with others and working out the times to start each activity.
When the students have completed their Contract Day plan it must be dated and signed by them and the teacher at the end of the page.
Explain the meaning of a contract, why it is signed – the responsibility that goes with signing a contract -Talk about the use of contracts eg in the building trade, taking out a loan.
On Contract Day write a message for the students to see re starting their day then just let them get started.
- Students independently getting organised
- Interacting with others
- Finding a spot to sit
- Getting the resources they need
- Watching the clock so they know when to finish
- Getting the contract signed as they complete each task
- Organizing the next activity
- The atmosphere is relaxed but busy.
- All the selected activities must be do- able and worthwhile. Students will understand this.
- Have a Class Contract Ideas list for students to use. As the students are writing their contract you may see new ideas. Ask the student to record it on the Class Contract Ideas list. Direct students who may be stuck for an idea to check out the list – they may see an idea they like and use it on their contract.