The idea of co-writing a class mission statement at the beginning of the year always sounded like magic to me. Every year, I would picture my students collaborating, piecing together the perfect words to embody who we will be as a class family.
Sounds beautiful right? Why wouldn’t you co-write a class mission statement?
So what’s the problem? Explaining to students what a mission statement is and facilitating that high level of collaboration in the first few weeks of school is no easy feat. It’s taken me years of practice to nail down an approach that works. In this post, you’ll get *the plan* to support your students in crafting a beautiful class mission statement that will set the tone and lead you through the school year.
Day One: Intro to Class Mission Statements
Approximate time: 20 minutes
Share with your students that you will be writing a class mission statement together this week and the reason for writing a mission statement (to guide you through the year). Then, go over mission statement examples to give students a frame of reference as to what a mission statement is.
Here are a few examples to share with your students:
Lastly, if your school has a mission statement, share that as an example, too.
Day Two: Sharing Circle and Reflection
Approximate time: 60 minutes
A strong class mission statement is made up of the classes’ norms, values and goals. A sharing circle is a great way to gather students’ opinions and thoughts in these three areas. Question prompts during the sharing circle can draw out students’ ideas which can then be used when drafting the class mission statement. For a new prep way to lead this Grab the sharing circle slide deck here.
Here are a few sharing circle prompts to try:
- What values are important to us as a class? (provide examples of values, if needed)
- What class norms (rules and expectations) should we follow as a class family?
- What goals do we have for this school year?
After the sharing circle, have students complete a reflection. Through this reflection, students will share what they heard their classmates express during the sharing circle and will also offer their perspectives on the sharing circle prompts. Student reflections can be written on lined paper or you can use the student reflection pages included in the class mission statement kit.
Day Three: Rough Draft Writing
Approximate time: 45 minutes
Students will write rough drafts of the mission statement. Remind them to consider everyone’s perspective that was shared yesterday through the sharing circle to make sure their rough draft captures the entire class’ voice. Having students write rough drafts in partners or small groups ensures that multiple points of view of included. It also means there are less rough drafts submitted which can make it easier to narrow it down to a final class mission statement.
Day Four: Final Vote
Approximate time: 60 minutes or 20 minutes
There are a few ways that you can narrow down to one mission statement. The first way, which will take more time, is to refer to the ideas from students’ rough drafts to craft three class mission statements together as a class. Then, students vote on which they prefer from those three options.
The second option, which takes less time, is to post all students’ rough drafts around the classroom and have students walk around and read them, gallery walk style. Then, students vote on their favourite.
To vote, you can do a simple show of hands or have students fill out a ballot.
Day Five: The Final Mission Statement
Approximate time: 15 minutes
Prepare a poster version of the final mission statement to review as a class and have students sign it as an agreement to uphold the mission. The statement can be written on chart paper or typed out and printed. Share the statement with students’ parents, if desired.
Want a resource to support you even further in co-writing a class mission statement with your students? Check out the Class Mission Statement Kit which facilitates establishing class norms, values, and goals for a strong classroom community from the start.
Looking for more back to school ideas? Check out these posts: First Week of School Lesson Plans for Upper Elementary, and Five Get to Know You Activities for Upper Elementary.