Social Contracts

Now that school is in full swing, students at Westwood are working with their teachers to write their social contracts. What is a social contract? An important part of the Capturing Kids’ Hearts self-managing classroom program, it’s a promise or an agreement made between student and teacher as well as between student and student, compiled by the class as their answer the following four questions, posed by the teacher:

1. How would you like to be treated by me?
2. How would I like to be treated by you?
3. How do we want to treat each other?
4. How should we treat each another if there’s a conflict?

In small group, students reflect on these questions and write down their group’s answers. Then the class reconvenes to whole group and shares their answers to create the contract. A check by an answer indicates that this word or sentiment was given by more than one group. The class then discusses the finished product and agrees to abide by their promise to behave according to the contract. It works, then, as a tool that the teacher or the students can refer back to again and again to help maintain the climate of character that is at its very essence. Pictured here is the contract created by Mrs. Matejowsky’s third-grade class. Social contracts do not all look the same, but a similar theme does run through all of them, one that very nicely parallels the six pillars of character upon which we base our character education efforts at Westwood.