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A class mission statement can either be a powerful thing in your classroom or just a waste of time. The first time I was told I had to create a mission statement, I had no idea what that meant or what to do. I didn’t know what the purpose was or how to even begin thinking of one.
I assumed the kids could clue me in a bit, but I quickly found out that I was very wrong. They didn’t know any more about these statements than I did. Because I had to, we quickly created something about “staying positive and following directions” and never referred back to it. That was the incident where it was a waste of time.
The What and Why of a Class Mission Statement and How to Create One
After a couple years of practice, I think I finally learned a way to create an empowering class mission statement, and use it effectively. Some teachers create their own mission statement and then share with their students. I highly recommend not doing this. It is so much more meaningful if the students are given the opportunity to have a voice. After all, this is the statement everyone in the class is supposed to believe in and stand for. Don’t mix it up with your class rules. It’s a way to inspire your kids for success, not tell them how to behave. Here are some of my own tips to help you get started with your own classroom mission statement.
Begin the mission statement with questions:
1. Where are we?
Your students will hopefully answer some form of the word school. Write this on the board.
2. Why are we here?
This is where you brainstorm as a class. The answers to this question are endless…to learn, get an education, go to college, because we have to (you know we all have THAT kid). Create a cloud of words expressing why the students are at school.
3. How are we going to do that?
Another option that has endless answers. Make sure to write down everything they say- around their previous answers. Add as many answers as you would like, but make sure to stay on topic. If your kids need more prompting, keep asking this question until you get the ideas you want.
Once you have collected all of the words and/or phrases, begin crossing out and circling ideas you want or don’t want in your statement. Talk as a class and bounce ideas off each other. Eventually, you will create something wonderful. I promise your kids will love being able to “help” with the creation.
Class Mission Statement Reminders:
Keep it short
You don’t want a mission statement none of your kids are going to remember. Or a statement you, yourself, can’t remember. Anything longer than a sentence is too long.
Refer back to it
The only way something will stick is if you continually go back to it. The more you talk about it, the more your students will believe it. Remember, these mission statements are meant to be powerful and motivating. The more you tell someone something, the more they will believe it. Inspire your students!
You can help
Just like we do with everything else in the classroom, it is ok to help the kids out. If you need to, lead them into a mission statement you want. As teachers, we all know if it is easy to get things out of our students!
This Year’s Mission Statement:
The mission statement my class and I ultimately came up with this year is:
What do you think?
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