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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Do you do discipline contracts?

I don’t. Do you? Does it work for you? Is it worth the time? I’m wondering this tonight since I was reading a hit on LM_NET about contracts. Some people send them home for students and parents to sign. I don’t. I think back to a teacher at UIowa who always said, "What are the possible choices? Yes, no, hell no, I don’t care?" Will people read the contract and "opt out" of library? How do I feel when I sign off the forms for my sons every year? I remind them to please behave so they don’t suffer any of the dire consequences listed. The forms all blur in my mind and by the end all I can remember is they should "Be Good!"

My school is working on Cooperative Discipline this year. We talk about hands-joined discipline instead of hands-off or hands-on. What will that mean in the library?

I’ve been thinking about this. As I do orientation with classes I talk about the word RESPECT. I talk about their actions and how they "show" respect. I ask them to think about how they want to be treated. 

Then I make it very clear that that room is THEIR library and it will be as wonderful a place as they make it. The students are excited. The students are begging to volunteer already. The students are submitting their ideas to make the program better. But if we don’t cooperate, it will be chaos.

Call me a stuck-in-the-mud, but I’d rather rewrite our program every year together than spell it all out and hand it out to them to sign. I did make a bookmark with a couple ideas I had like asking them to bring a pass and to use a shelf marker to keep things in order. I demonstrated how this was asking everyone to respect their time by keeping things organized so they could find it. But when it comes down to creating the climate, that’s up to the students. Our library will be as wonderful or as chaotic or as dead as they make it. How about yours?


  1. This is my 3rd year as an elementary LMS (did 5 years as an assistant in library, followed by 2 horrible years of teaching 2nd grade) This year due to budget cuts I lost my assistant. I would be really interested to hear what others do for behavior issues in the library. All, I really have is time out, but I have very young students K-3 so a lot of my issues I know are with not being able to keep good proximity to all of them at the same time. I would really like to hear ideas on incentives some use in library for behavior. As for contracts, I am kind of expected to not have much parent contact unless it comes to dealing with a lost book or something. So, no contracts for me.