I like to keep my classroom rules VERY easy! Typically it’s just one rule – be nice or show respect. The K-2 folks get the “be nice” rule, while the older kids get the “show respect” rule.
This rules is then broken up into three main parts.
Even though the rule only has one main part (or three smaller ones!), it can still be a challenge for kids to understand. That’s why I always go through the rules. The students and I brainstorm what these rules will look and sound like.
Here’s the lists that last years 6th graders came up with.
Does spending so much time on the school rules at the beginning of the year mean I lose some instructional time? Yes. However, I truly believe this “lost” time at the beginning of the year saves me hours of headaches down the road. Students know my expectations. We’ve talked about these expectations. They know the consequences of breaking these expectations, and we can go on with the rest of the year. I have had very few discipline problems in my five years as a classroom teacher, one year in special education, and one year as a Reading Recovery/Title I teacher. These three simple classroom rules work!
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