Norms Exercise

I learned this exercise from Andre Plaut and have used it, tweaked it, and loved it. I do a variation of it with teams to figure out what kind of team we want as well.

Studio Norms: How can we make this studio an effective place to meet our goals?

Goal: Engage students in taking responsibility for their learning environment, understand how to teach them better, and teach them everything is designed.


Ask students to visualize a great learning environment. Might be here, might be high school or elementary, or could be a extra-curricular class like yoga or music. Ask students to think about what made it good.
Ask students to share out. Scribe on whiteboard.
Note: I’ve been considering moving to a free-listing & affinity mapping approach, but haven’t tried it yet. – cw

Ask student to visualize a dreadful learning environment, one that just sucked so hard. What made it that way? Teacher things, student things, teams, environment?

Have students now suggest “rules” for class.  Make sure to clarify unclear rules such as “give honest feedback.”
What would that look like? How do we know that’s happening?
How do we plan to call each other out when we see a rule violated?
Write them up on a flipchart or butcher paper.
Finish with basic logistics. Formal Break? How long? Do we prefer stepping out as needed?
Ask how often we want to return to these to evaluate and update?