A How To Guide For Co-Creating A Class Mission Statement

As we go back to school, it is important to consider what you will do with your students in the first few weeks to establish community and expectations. One of the most effective strategies for this is to co-create a mission statement with your students. TeacherVision Advisory Board member Mikaela shares her step-by-step process, so you can take it back to your classroom this Fall. 

Updated on: September 5, 2019

A How To Guide For Creating A Class Mission Statement

Establishing classroom rules and expectations is essential as we go back to school. However, equally important is how you are going to involve your students in the process. One of the most effective ways to motivate students and ensure that they will see the value in core values, norms, and goals is to co-create a class mission statement.

What is a class mission statement? 

A class mission statement is a document that drives your classroom culture and articulates your class values, goals, and norms.

"This document keeps your team, both students and teachers, accountable for the goals you’ve set at the beginning of the year. It also serves as a unifying agent that reflects all the voices in your classroom."

In order for a mission statement to be effective, it’s crucial that everyone is engaged and on board.

I’ve found, and talked with other teachers who have felt the same, that allowing everyone to co-create the mission statement leads to that engagement. Anytime students are given ownership over a process, they rise to the occasion. In my experience, I have found that a class mission statement can motivate students. It can unite them even when there is conflict and it can lift my spirits when I’m having a tough day. It also works for a great reflection tool when students break class norms or rules.

 

Below I’ve laid out the steps I use when co-creating a class mission statement.

These are the steps I’ve used to co-create a class mission statement, but they can be modified as every classroom and class is different. This graphic organizer walks students through the process of creating a mission statement by engaging them in brainstorming and discussing class adjectives, class goals, and actions that will help them achieve those goals. The organizer also supports students to think about the bigger picture: how a class mission statement will build classroom community and hold students accountable for making good choices in the classroom. 

Materials

  • Sticky notes/index cards
  • Graphic organizer
  • Chart paper and markers
  • Examples of business, school and team mission statements


The Step-By-Step Process For Co-Creating A Class Mission Statement

1. Prior to the mission statement lesson, complete the graphic organizer with adjectives and goals you hope the class will accomplish or reach by the end of the year.

2. Create several mission statement outlines, leaving blanks for adjectives and goals just to have a framework for when the students write their own.

3. Introduce the students to mission statements by sharing your own school’s mission statement (or another high quality mission statement) and explain that you will be crafting your own mission statement.

4. Using the graphic organizer, have students fill box 1 with adjectives they would use to describe their ideal classroom.

Guiding Questions:

  • What does the classroom feel like?
  • How do classmates act?
  • What does the classroom look like?
  • How do teachers act?

5. Open the floor up for sharing adjectives. Have a student record the adjectives on chart paper or on the board (alternatively, students can write the adjectives on sticky notes and post them on the board).

6. Ask students to notice patterns or try to group the adjectives. Next, decide on 3-4 main adjectives that will be included in the mission statement (again, this number can be more or less depending on your class and preference).

7. Repeat the same steps for the goals section until you’ve decided on 1-2 goals for the class. These can be as long term or as short term as you’d like!

8. Complete the HOW section of the graphic organizer together, guided by the question “How will we achieve our goals?”

9. Provide students with examples of strong mission statements, and explain that you will be using these to help the class write their own high quality mission statement.

10. Give students time to discuss which format of mission statement will be best for the classroom (this can be adjusted based on age - with younger students you can lay out 2-3 preset formats and have them vote for which one they want to use).

11. Then, record your mission statement on anchor chart paper in its final form and have each student sign the mission statement. Students can decorate their mission statement. Hang it in your classroom so your students can see it. 

*Optional: Have your students read out or recite your mission statement at the start of class, or start of the day to remind the team what we are working for and why we are working so hard!

Mission Statement Outline

“We the class of _____________________ devote to being ___________, __________ and ________________. We work to achieve ___________________ and ________________ everyday because _________________________. We believe _______________________.” “We the class of ________________________ believe that _______________________________. Therefore, we strive to ___________________ everyday. We will be ______________, _______________ and __________________ and work to _______________________.”

How do you establish classroom values with your students? Share with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

Mikaela Prego is an elementary educator from Massachusetts. She spent the last 3 years teaching 4th grade in Colorado, now she is back teaching in Massachusetts. Her favorite subjects to teach are math, science and social studies and she is a huge fan of putting the students in charge of as much of their learning as possible. You can follow my classroom @whoareweintheworld on Instagram.

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