Your Club Rules

Question of the Week #8 - September 24

One of my mentors is the incredible teacher Kathy Dungan at Missoula’s Lewis and Clark Elementary. Before I started the Missoula Coyote Choir, I observed her classroom several times. She’s magical with the kids - clear, kind and creative. Her heart is wide open and her boundaries are firm. Among the many things I’ve stolen from her (I mean, tried to emulate) is the way she engages her students in the process of making their rules. They don’t even call them rules, actually. They call it a class code, or promise, or pledge. Over the course of several weeks, they write a beautiful paragraph together, describing how they want their space to look, sound and feel. The result is something new ever year, but with similar themes: friendliness, inclusion, calm, safety. I’d love to compile all of Kathy’s students ideas for building a strong community and hang them up in my office. And in the senate and house chambers.

Whenever a new season of Coyote Choir starts up, as it did last Tuesday, I go through a condensed version of Kathy’s process. Thinking about all this inspired this Question of the Week.

Accompanist Josh Farmer with this year’s crop of Coyotes.