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Class Meetings



Usually around this time of the year, my class begins having social issues and concerns. For example, the girls are fighting over things (such as boys!), or someone is throwing food in the lunch room. I have heard that having a "class meeting" to address these issues is one way to help solve them. I was wondering if anyone out there has classroom meetings. If you do, how is the format and do you think they are effective?



Full Member
Have tried it

I have tried this before with different approaches. Once I gave everyone a sheet of scrap paper and sent everyone to different parts of the room where not a single person could see their paper. Then I asked them to write at the top of the page the one "concern" they had about the class setting. I was careful to guide them that I did not need names nor did I want them to say "I don't like that we don't have free time." I instructed them to state only things about the class that made it either hard to learn or that hurt their feelings. It had to be limited to one sentence (otherwise I would have gotten a book of concerns). Then I had them write one sentence after that one that said how that made them feel. What I got was "I don't like that I get called names at recess." "This makes me feel alone." Then at the bottom of the page I had them write one thing they liked about the class setting and how it made them feel.
I took these home and reviewed them. The next day I read them to the class. I have to say that most of them had the same concern - teasing, and this really opened their eyes. Don't know if this was the right thing to do, but it worked at the time and I didn't have this problem again.


New Member
fourth grade teacher

We have class council every Friday where we sit and discuss issues that have come up during the week. We have a box that students can anonymously put notes into and then read them so that no one feels on the spot. Then we talk about what was read and try to solve the problem through class concensus.


Senior Member

My goal for next year is to have a more "community" type atmosphere and work on it from the start. I don't think I've done a great job at it this year because I switched schools and didn't know what to expect.

So far, I haven't had an official schedule of a class meeting. If I notice that the students are having a specific problem or if a distracting issue arises, we stop class for a portion of the day and discuss it. I usually ask them:
- What do you notice about our class that is preventing us from learning?
- Is there anything causing you stress?
- How can we as a class work together to make an improvement?

I work in a private school, so I usually end it by talking about God's expectations for us and reading a verse or two that applies to our situation.

I think I like the idea of having them write it down first, though. Sometimes during our discussion, my kids will start blaming each other openly, and that just leads to more issues.


Full Member
They're Great

I have had classroom meetings this year and they have worked wonderfully. I usually can sense concerns (like you said social issues) Then I bring it up. First we talk about how it makes them feel, Ex. I can't concentrate because people are being rude and talking. They actually do well with this, but they are not aloud to talk about any specific people. Then we come up with suggestions on how to help the problem. This cannot be any suggestions for me as a teacher, but for them as students and peers (otherwise you get all kinds of crazy systems.) I have a smiley face beach ball and only the kid holding it is allowed to speak. Everyone else has to just be a good listener. I find these meetings to be a wonderful way for kids to get some of their feelings out, but more importantly to accept the responsibility for making the problem better. I have had great results after classroom meetings.


Junior Member
That's a great idea! I've tried class meetings/discussions and other ideas, but nothing has had an effect on them. I'm having issues with my students as well, and am going to do this with them on Monday! Thank you :)


Full Member
Class meetings are a fantastic way to work on these kinds of issues. I don't want to say 'resolve' because children this age are still learning these skills, so they need to be revisited the same as spelling and math facts. The effectiveness comes from this being their problem and their solution. If it is Your problem and/or Your solution, they don't have as much invested in the outcome.

In my class, either the children can call a meeting, or I do if it is clearly something like what you mentioned that the group clearly has to work on. We pick a good time, then have a discussion. The ground rules are:

1) One person can speak at a time, everyone else listens.
2) Listening means trying to understand the other person's point, even if you don't agree. No one can listen with his/her hand up, nor interrupt.
3) Everyone gets a turn to talk who wants one.
4) Only the issue being discussed is permitted - things that happened last week, last year, etc. are not up for discussion (ie stick to the topic)
5) During brainstorming possible ideas for solutions to the problems, no one can nix them, boo, etc. Ideas are out to consider, not to criticize.
6) The group discusses options and agrees on what steps to take to remedy the situation. I have ultimate veto power in case the solution is not workable, but I have never had to use it.

All of that sounds like a lot of rules, but once they are used to the process, it pretty well happens with very little help from me. The children are committed to working things out, and empowered by the knowledge that they can. They also learn excellent skills that will extend into adulthood.