Our first conceptual humanities unit is called "Building a Community." During this unit, social studies and language arts standards combine to form a study of civics and government. We began by learning about "rights," the protection of which is the foundation of any civilized community. You can read more about our discussion of rights here.
Last week our unit lead us to think about how rights are in play in the classroom. In partner groups, the students brainstormed what rights we have in the classroom. Then, partner groups combined to form small groups who refined their lists to make them even better. As a class, we shared and consolidated our lists of rights and brainstormed what rules we could put in place to protect them. The students pointed out that some rights are protected by me and some are protected by them. Conversations like these bring out such interesting comments and connections from the students each year. This year it was very important to the class that they be acknowledged for their hard work!
Finally, we used our list of rights and rules to create our class constitution. By creating and signing our own constitution, the students gained a sense of power and ownership over the culture of the classroom along with an intrinsic understanding of the nature of rights and laws.
Little people, big minds.