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Classroom Rules - Introducing

Compiled By: Editor

How teachers introduce their students to the classroom rules

Classroom rules
Posted by: Mary

Hello New Teacher! I agree with others to keep rules simple. I do believe that procedures, common courtesies, and rules are similar, but there are some distinct differences and I point them out as the year goes on. Since our communities (society etc.) have rules that we must obey, I think it's appropriate to call rules, rules and identify consequences. I usually choose one or two simple rules such as obeying traffic signs. We discuss why they were made and what the consequences are of not following such rules. Then we discuss a similar school rule: walk in the building at all times. After discussing etc., I take the class out and walk somewhere in the building. We identify potentially hazardous places where running can get one hurt (around corners etc.). I'll even add a little modeling session with two volunteers who can show us how to walk, even if it's quick walking because they might be in a hurry, to stay safe (keep themselves and OTHERS safe). I try to model the most important learnings that I want the students to have. It can be made quite fun and we often share belly laughs as different funny scenarios come up. Keep it serious, but light and reinforce, reinforce, reinforce! Good luck!

Classroom rules
Posted by: Sukie

Your idea sounds pretty good. I like to keep it very simple though. I read "No, David!" and the other book about David. We establish our rules and that's it. When a child is talking or not raising their hand, or not in their seat or any other "infraction", I say to them that they are breaking a rule. Then I pause a long time and ask them if they wanted to do that. Of course, they say no. Then I ask them what rule they just broke and tell them very simply to not break a rule again. Then go on as if there was no disruption. My message is that we don't break rules. If you get too fancy or elaborate, they don't get it. Your friend's idea is fine, but don't forget that first graders can't read yet and may not understant that Safe, Kind, and Learning are the basis for rules. Whatever system you use, make sure you are comfortable with it and can enforce it. But, keep it simple, simple, simple with a reward or consequence.

Posted by: R. Dishaw

It is a big misconception that when you have rules and standards and enforce them that the children will not like school. In fact the children enjoy having standards for their behavior. I have found that a lot of consistency in the first month can pay off with a successful year. Remember - you are the adult. The children will not hate you because you force them to adhere to behavior standards. Many new teachers make the mistake of wanting to be a friend rather than a teacher.

Also, please don't think that I am implying that you should not have fun. Just encourage the children to be respectful regardless of the activity and you will have a great year.

Posted by: noreen

After 12 years of teaching I can tell you each group is different. What worked one year or one week ago might not work. Be flexible, be fair and be consistent. There is an old adage, "Don't begin a sentence with the word If unless you are able to carry out what you say. For example if you say "Billy" if you get out of your seat again you will not have gym, you have to follow through (even when they give you those sad puppy eyes or start crying) Make the punishment fit the crime, don't make an issue out of a tissue and when you feel you are losing it step away and take a deep breath. Mean words said in anger can not be taken back. I try to tell someone they are making my heart smiling because they are sitting in their seat. Little ones love to make your heart smile, they truly want to please. When they make my heart sad, I tell them that only kind words and deeds can fix my heart.Since they so often tell me that they are going to tell their mothers I tell them that I am going to tell them I am going to tell mine. They ask me what my mother said. When they do something right they also ask me to tell my mother that also. Some years this works, some groups don't care. Some kids are free spirits regardless of the consequences. It is usually the free spirit who needs gym, recess or art the most. Sometimes if you give them a job that they like and know that they can loose the job for failure to conform to the class rules that works.If you explain the rules and why you have them the kids usually try to cooperate. Try to learn the personalities of the kids and see what will work for that group.

what grade are you teaching?
Posted by: Cathy-Dee

Trust me everyone is going through the same things for the first day and probably for the next 1 to 3 weeks. The first 3 weeks of school are the ones where we lay down the foundation of what we are expecting from our students and also time for us to learn more about them as well and how they behave.

If they are fidgity plan for some "breaks" throughout the day - little 2 minute games, ice-breakers, poems, chants, songs, etc., depending on the grade level you are teaching. They are excited, nervous, tired, etc., so it's just hard for them to focus right now.

Don't worry about taking time to reinforce rules and proper behaviour - even the oldest students need the reminders it seems that first week or two back. Every morning start off with a short (5 minute) reminder on the class rules. Then just remind as necessary throughout the day.

Also be sure about what you are doing - for example if you have stated hands up for questions - then be sure only to take questions from those with hands up. Sometimes we confuse the students by saying one thing and then allowing other things as well.

AND IT DOES GET BETTER!!!! (or at least most of the time, we all get that one class that is more difficult than others at least once or twice in our career, but even those classes do improve).

rules and consequences
Posted by: Carolyn

I think that it's a good idea to go over rules and procedures during the first week of school. When you go over them, I think it's also a good idea, as the above-poster suggests, to model appropriate and inappropriate behavior, along with some alternatives to the inappropriate behavior. If you can have the kids act out situations, I think this helps them remember the rules better.

There comes a time, though, when the kids begin to forget the rules. I think that in order to be successful, you have to continually review your expectations of the kids.

One year, I wrote a few rules and placed them on a poster. Instead of posting them and telling the kids that this was what I expected of them, I elicited from them what was most important. After they had basically come up with what I had already written, I posted the rules on the wall and had the kids act them out.

It may not be your system as much as the fact that kids need so much review and reinforcement of rules, just as they do with academic subject material.