Whether children are in a classroom or at home, it is important that they recognize boundaries and established rules so that they behave properly. Creating and following rules lets children understand what is expected from them and that inappropriate conduct has consequences. Since there are many children in a classroom, and often only one teacher, it is especially important to introduce rules in a manner that children understand them.
When a class first starts, divide children into groups. Ask children what type of rules they think will help make the classroom a good environment for learning and let them brainstorm a list of rules. Let each group create a poster and present their rules to the class. Then discuss the rules and create a list of rules for the class. Discuss consequences for breaking the rules and add them to the poster. Invite students to sign the class poster.
Choose pairs of children to be the rule police for the day. If someone calls out or does not follow rules, the police are responsible for writing their names on the board. Appoint new rule police every hour so that children get used to watching for improper conduct. A small prize or ticket can be given to any student that is not caught by the rule police for an entire week.
In the beginning of the school year, students have questions about classroom procedures. Prepare questions about classroom procedures regarding sharpening pencils, getting drinks, talking out of turn, lining up and bullying that may concern students. Put all the questions in a hat. Let each child pull a question out of the hat and read it. Discuss the answer and form a set of classroom rules together.
Pledge of Rules
After creating classroom rules, help students create a classroom pledge that reminds them of the rules. Practice the pledge and let the children write out the pledge and keep it on their desks. The pledge can be said every morning and will keep the rules fresh in the children's minds. As part of the morning jobs, one child can be the classroom pledge leader.
Divide students into groups. Give each group a classroom rule and ask the students to demonstrate what happens when it is not followed. Have the other students guess the rule and then discuss why the rule is important to follow.
Write down one rule at the beginning of the week and do not tell the children which rule it is. If the class does not break the rule more than three times during the week, they get a sticker. Every time the class gets 10 stickers, they can choose a class prize. Prizes may include lunch with the teacher, a no-homework night or a few minutes of free time. At the end of each week, students learn the identity of the mystery rule. Keep a chart listing the mystery rules so the class can see where they need work on following directions.
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