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.
- to others
- to property
- to yourself
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.
Typically we write our ideas on paper that we can save all year. (aka – I can store them in the closet and pull them out whenever the kiddos “forget” how they should be behaving or if we have a bunch of new students join us.)
However, last year I wrote them on the whiteboard, left them for about two weeks, and didn’t have another problem all year. (Although technically I knew I had taken these pictures and could bring them up again if needed!) 🙂
This year my plan is to put them up on the ActivBoard and pull them up as needed throughout the year.
I also make sure to refer to these a LOT in those first weeks.
Custodians LOVE my room because I expect it to be clean. I tell the students that they are the ones who make the mess, so they are the ones who clean it up! Yes, sometimes they grumble and complain that it’s the janitors’ jobs – but I always say it’s there job to clean up the school, NOT to clean up after little slobs.
When I’m strict about the rules from the get-go the students get used to it and it simply becomes a “norm” in my room.
It’s so great to see students cleaning up by the end of the year without even being asked! Students truly do reach the high standards we set for them. 🙂
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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