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Classroom Rules - Involving Students

Compiled By: Editor

How teachers involve students in setting classroom rules

Posted by: Carolinaproud

I usually set ground rules in this way. I have the kids sit in groups. (my desks are set us this way all the time) I have each students write down 5 rules they think we should have. Then I have them pass their papers to the right. They put 3 stars by the ones they think are important on that paper. They switch to the right again and do the same thing. They keep switching until they have their own paper back.
I then ask the groups to name the top 3 votegetting rules. We list them on chart paper in the front of the class. We then eliminate duplicates that may have occured or mean the same thing. I then ask them if everyone agrees with these rules or if anyone wants to eliminate any of them for any reason. They have to justify their reasons. In the past 2 years I have never had anyone take one off. Then we come up with our top five rules that we can all agree on.

We then all sign the rules and post on the wall.

If someone is having trouble with the rule, we refer them to our chart that they signed and agreed to.

Works great! Just an idea.


class rules
Posted by: Shasta

My first 3 years I allowed my students to make the class rules during our first class meeting on the first day of school. The first year I taught, it was a wonderful experience. The last 2 left a little to be desired. It made for a crazy first day because there were no posted rules. This year, I have made 4 rules already, but I am having my students create a class constitution/bill of rights.

class rules
Posted by: L. Wood

I am also a Ms. Wood and I am teaching a 6th grade social studies class this year! The way I handled class rules and procedures was to actually have the students (believe it or not) create the rules and consequences for the class. We took 2 class periods to work in small groups and brainstorm what rules need to be established for the class. The groups wrote their rules, consequences to breaking the rule, and possible rewards for following the rules. From there, each group presented their set of rules. After all groups presented, the class voted on which rules they thought were fair and wanted to add to our final class list of rules. (Of course, if I didn't like a rule or feel comfortable with the rule I had the power to veto it!) So far, this has worked out well because the students feel some ownership for the class rules. Hope this helped a little.

rules in school
Posted by: pcm

We start by brainstorming goals (hopes and dreams) for the school year.Then we talk about how we need to act in class to achieve those hopes and dreams. We make a list of rules together and narrow it down to maybe 4. I try to get them to avoid rules that start with "No" and put it positively - like "Walk in the halls" One person speaks at a time,Use kind words,statements like that. Then I print up their short list and they all sign it to indicate that they agree with our rules and will follow them.(Left on their own kids will make up dozens of rules - thats too many. But you do need to talk about what "Being GOOD" really means(thats too vague a rule) and what "Respect" means. Things like that. I kind of approach it like they are ALL already well behaved students and I expect no behavior problems.( Then I hope for a self-fulilling prophecy)

Posted by: pjm

this year I didn't post rules at all...but on our first day I read the book "No, David" to my's a cute book if you haven't seen it. Had my class in complete giggles....we talked about what David was doing wrong on each page and then that led into a discussion of classroom rules. We created them together. I feel the key is not too many I always have in mind the ones I think are important and those we write on the board...and the others we think are good rules but don't write on the board....the kids were very involved...more than previous years and I think that David set the tone...anyway we had a lot of fun doing it this year

Posted by: Anne M


I have the children brainstorm rules that should be followed at school, in the classroom, lunchroom and on the play ground. I write their ideas one per sentence strip. After we have come up with several I use two pocket charts. One is labeled "Rules to Keep us Safe" and the other is labeled "Rules to Help us get Along" As I reread each sentence strip we decide which kind of rule it is and I let a child put it in the pocket of the chart. They like this because they have decided what appropriate school behavior is and why! Anne M

Posted by: barbdodge

I have never used books but, found the best way of implementing rules ever.
by the M.B. Flippen Group
Sit with kids and talk about how they want to be treated in the classroom, how they think you want to be treated, how they want to treat others, and what should happen if a conflict occurs.
List the ideaws on a board.
Then have children go to their individual seats and write and draw a picture of how they want to be treated. They can add other ideas on the back.
While the kids are doing that you are walking around and monitoring, you will have already made a list of how you want to be treated.
Hold a family meeting and have children share their pictures and ideas. Save the pictures to make into a class book of your own.
This discussion time will show the children that everyone wants to be treated in the same way....even teachers.
Post the answers on the board.
AIf someome says I want to be respected.
Discuss what respect means....
ask before taking,
listen when someone is speaking,etc.
If a child says I want to be treated nice ask them what would a person be doing to be nice so that you clarify what topics would fall under that category.
Make a class contract,with no more than three to five rules....have children trace their hands and sign their names on them...then glue them on the contract so that the children take ownership in the document.
Also discuss consequences together,
what will happen if someone forgets their homework?
What if someone is talking while we are trying to learn, etc.
Write down what the consequences will be. Make sure the kids know that you are the final vote as to what the consequences will be....if they seem fair to you, then they will be written on the contract.
Post the contract in room and review it every morning and at the end of the day to see if any revisions need to be made............and how well the contract was followed....what needs to be worked on the following day.

Posted by: Susan Edwards

I am doing Responsive Classroom ( One of the key components of Responsive Classroom(RC)is "Rules and Logical Consequences". What we do is have the students generate a list of rules. They often suggest things like: "no talking" and "No Hitting" etc. Responsive Classroom(RC) suggests staying away from these "swimming pool" type rules and trying to state the rule in a positive...such as; "be a caring friend", "take care of others' personal safety" etc. The teacher writes this long list of rules down and then points out that there are too many to remember. He/she then skillfully reduces this long list to 3 basic rules that encompass all of them :
1. Respect yourself
2. Respect others
3. Respect the environment

Then, following the RC appraoch and using the specific RC language(which is very important), when someone breaks one of those rules you ask them to remind you what the class agreed that they would do (i.e. resect others etc.)This puts the responsibility on the child to be monitoring his/her own behavior and follow the agreed upon rules in order to be a member of the classroom community.

Posted by: Lauren

As I have read from educational research, all agree that it is important to let children have a voice in the classroom rules so that they feel a part of the community of the classroom, a democracy if you will. It also says to limit rules to no more than 5- -all that children can handle.
I allow my children to have a voice in creating the classroom rules on the first day of school but I do lead them in the right direction. We make a list of things on the board that absolutely cannot take place during the year, like constantly getting out of your seat or always talking out of turn. We then summarize them into 5 statements, list them on posterboard and all the children sign it.

My classroom rules
Posted by: Laura H.

My class (4th grade) brainstorms a TON of rules on a piece of roll paper we attach to the white board. Some are silly, like don't run with scissors, but some are more meaningful, like be kind with your words. Then they get into groups and categorize the rules into 3 categories or 3Bs. Be respectful, Be responsible, Be your best. Then we took 3 half sheets of posterboard, typed up their rules, and put each category on one of the half sheets. To end it, we talked about the "be responsible" rule and had each student sign each poster. I laminated them and hung them in the room. Then when a student broke one, they couldn't say they didn't know...they signed it, like a contract. Last year, I did not send 1 child to the principal's office. I think this was in part because they took ownership in the way their classroom functioned.

Class rules (long response)
Posted by: RebeccaK

About ten or so years ago I applied some ideas I'd learned in a "Quality School"-type conference in order to foster the sort of ownership you are referring to. At the time I had just finished a couple years of teaching primary aged "severe behavior disorder" kids and was delighted to have an opportunity to try this with a class of less involved students.

It was very successful (until I was out for two months with back surgery - but that's another story LOL)

I approached this with a definite idea of what I wanted to be represented in the rules (safety, respect, that sort of thing) but - and this is very important to me - I also did NOT want anything in there that was a policy and not a rule. For example, "raise your hand before speaking" is a policy as it is only applicable at certain times of the school day.

The class at first was very locked in to "be good" and "don't throw" types of ideas but with some guidance they gradually fine tuned it all into these three rules: 1. Be Safe. 2. Follow Directions. 3. Treat Yourself and Others Well. I've used these ever since (since then I've not had a classroom that could do what that long-ago class could!) Thus far nothing has ever happened that didn't fall under one of those rules. They are easy to remember, very clear (especially for younger kids or special needs kids) and they are not ambiguous or a "policy" that would be intermittently enforced.

As an aside, we also focused a lot on "Student Rights and Responsibilities." We have the right to a classroom where we can learn....We have the responsibility to act in a way that allows others to learn. That sort of thing. I have the whole list at school (along with the source) if you want it, it's pretty neat. The last one said "I have the right to all of these rights as long as I uphold all of my responsibilities." Might be too much though if you teach little ones.


teaching rules and consequences
Posted by: Shirley

I usually start on the first day with a class meeting. In this meeting we talk about things that make learning easier for each of us. Some need quiet when working, others worry about people getting in their "space", etc. From here we discuss some rules that would help all of us have a great year and enable each of us to learn. Once the rules are established we then discuss what the students think are fair consequences for breaking the rules. We then establish the class consequences. All of us sign both the rules and consequences posters before putting them up in the room. We review them often, even doing some role playing and writing activities around these.

Developing Rules
Posted by: Kathy

One thing that is important is to recognize the difference between rules and procedures.

It is effective to develop rules at the beginning of the year with class involvement. Discuss with the kids what rules they think are important, and boil them down to a short list. They should cover how we treat each other, how we treat our workplace, and how we treat our materials.

Procedures such as restroom use, pencil sharpener, how we hand in work should not be listed as rules.

At a recent inservice, a teacher from another school discussed the plan they had adopted. I can't remember what it is called. It is school wide and training comes from a company in the Southwest. The rule--ONE RULE--is "I will not do anything that prevents the teacher from teaching or myself and my classmates from learning." That sure boils it down in a nutshell!

Posted by: renee

I think it is really important that the class works with you to come up with the rules. They should brainstorm a list of how they should behave in the class (obviously with you pointing them in the right direction). I usually write down their ideas on chart paper and then group like rules together and transfer it to a nice poster sheet that they all sign. If they don't touch on an area that I want them to I just lead them in that diresction. I hang it in our class and remind them of the rules when needed.
Some ideas I look for
- honesty
-the golden rule
-always do your best
-listen to others
-be respectful (to adults and peers)
-be friendly & helpful...