A Guide for Educators to Co-Create a Shared Classroom Vision

Everyone has a different classroom. Every student has their own experience, and there is no single solution to the best way to run your classroom. But there is one thing that can help set the tone for a productive year – the classroom vision. With your students you can picture how the class looks like, how students interact, and how teachers can contribute to the growth of each student. Most students know what the vision is, but they may not talk about it, or even think about it all that much. This is where you come in.

What is a shared classroom vision?

Let’s talk about the nitty gritty of what a classroom vision is. It is a group of statements that reflect what the class chooses as their core values and beliefs. They are guiding principles to what everyone can use to come back to throughout the year as each lesson is taught. As you co-create your vision and refer to it through the year, your students will feel a sense of belonging and see how what they are doing now contributes to the class goals.

How to create a shared classroom vision

The key to creating a classroom vision is making sure that it is co-created and it is done in the beginning of the year. You really can do it anytime, but if it is in the beginning of the year it will set a positive tone and it will be a document that you can refer to all the time.

Make it within the first week of school

As the vision will be used as a reference for the rest of the school year, it is important to create this list as early as within the first days of school. There are several advantages to this. First, consider this as the first exercise where everyone, whether they are old or new, can come together. Second, each student can speak their mind about what can make their classroom fun and exciting for them. Finally, as this list is agreed upon by everyone in the classroom, this teaches them the responsibility of fulfilling each item during each session.

Ask about what they had trouble with last school year

To begin making the list, it is important to ask your students not only what they like about school but also what made it hard for them. This is so that everyone can improve on what they missed last year. This also includes you, as the educator, whose responsibility is to make sure that everyone keeps to this. Hand out 10 sticky notes per student. Have them write 5 ways of being that they want in the classroom and also write 5 ways that made school less enjoyable. Have students hand the piles to you.

Next, read off the positive cards and add them to the wall. If some are repeats just add them on the repeated note. Once you have read all of the sticky notes, students will come up to the board and choose the top 3 they feel are most important and add a dot. Once all students have voted, you will count up the dots and choose the top 3. You will use these top 3 to create value statements for your classroom vision.

With the negatives you will do something different. Read each off and add it under one of the values that support it – if it does not keep this sticky note to the side. At the end, all of the notes that are left to the side, combine them if they are similar and write a positive value statement that will support it.

This is a really good activity and it makes sure that everyone’s concerns are validated. It is a great way to start the year.

Classroom rules around the classroom vision

After your classroom vision has been written – co-create five simple rules that can help support the vision. For example, being more open to different ideas is part of your classroom vision, establish classroom rules such as “speak one at a time” and/or “encourage and amplify all voices.” That way, your students will know what it means to keep the vision they created at the beginning of the school year.

How did you form your shared classroom vision with your students? Comment your tips down below.