Friday, March 27, 2009


Remember the Alamo! I'm sure that our upper elementary students will do just that--40 of them spent two days and one night in San Antonio to visit historical sites.

They prepared for the trip by researching Texas history and geography. They also divided into four groups to write rules: bus rules, restaurant rules, venue rules, and hotel rules.

Here are the restaurant rules:
  • Use good manners.
  • Use indoor voices.
  • Order a reasonable amount of food.
  • Keep rude comments to yourself.
  • Be responsible with your food.
  • Be respectful to the waiter/waitress.
  • Ask chaperone to go to the bathroom.
  • Keep your hands to yourself.
  • Have fun following these rules.

I really like that the rules are cast in the form of positive expectations rather than "Thou shalt NOT..."

And the last rule, seemingly a semi-facetious afterthought, is in fact, an incredibly mature acknowledgement that you don't have to break the rules to have fun (as some people believe).

The restaurant rules committee printed their list, as did the other three committees. Then all 40 students signed each list, making a personal commitment to follow them. It reminds me of that seminal document of American history, the Mayflower Compact, a social contract in which the governed established and agreed upon the rules that would bind them.

These rules were not simply imposed on the children by their teachers. The children were given the freedom to exercise their responsibility. This is a significant social accomplishment. Just imagine those four committees of ten children each, meeting to create these lists.

This is how we help children develop responsibility. This is how moral development evolves. This is how social and emotional intelligence are fostered. We don't have a student government at Post Oak. Or do we?

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