You may have noticed Katy walking around campus in the mornings with a round pizza pan covered with magnets, and wondered, "what is that thing?" Well, it is the Commitment & Wish Well board for the teachers and staff of The Magnolia School. How does it work? Sophie, Katy and each teacher have created a token to represent themselves. Katy puts a one or two sentence intention for the teachers to commit to daily. For instance, today’s commitment is, “Today I commit to teaching children how to handle disappointment and frustration by giving empathy.”
Teachers commit by moving their token to the “I Commit” section of the board. If they are unable to commit they move their token to the “Wish Well” section of the board. Every teacher who sees tokens in the Wish Well section takes a few moments to wish those people well. This exercise gives the teachers a thought to consider all day, a theme with which to stay connected and a visual reminder that we are all in this together.
Students too have a daily commitment. In the Front Room they commit to help keep the classroom safe by moving their popsicle stick from the floor where Pam lays them out into the little container each morning. In the Back Room, the teachers' commitment goes up on their white board. They talk about it as a class and the students make their own commitment. The Middle School teachers write a commitment on their white board, the students think about it, and make their own commitment.
Classroom and staff commitments are a structure to build the school family, moving the ideas of Conscious Discipline from theory to action. They help us focus on something important as a group.
If you get a chance, check out the Staff Commitment board in the elementary kitchen and see if you are willing to make the commitment. too.