Using positive peer influence can be a powerful strategy to take back control of an out-of-control class. Student-generated classroom expectations are helpful for the start of the year, however, the activity can be revisited (or initiated) at any time throughout the year. Try this strategy used by Danny Uyechi and Becky Corr to help students realize that collectively, order and clear expectations are preferred over chaos and unproductivity:
- Ask these questions of your students.
- What do you need so that you can be successful?
- What helps you do your best?
- How can your classmates help you to be successful? What do you expect from them?
- How can your teachers help you to be successful? What do you expect of them?
- Ask them to write their responses on notecards or a piece of paper.
- Use a word cloud generator, such as Wordle, to create a word cloud. Students will see the most popular responses as the largest responses, helping to create a healthy “norm” for how students should behave in the classroom setting.
- Post the results in a visible location as a helpful reminder of the expectations that students hold for each other.