Classroom Rules

Discussion in 'General Education' started by miss-m, May 9, 2018.

  1. miss-m

    miss-m Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2014
    Messages:
    949
    Likes Received:
    403

    May 9, 2018

    I'm looking at articles about establishing rules and consequences for my class next year, and I'm torn on how to go about this. Everywhere I've looked says to limit to 3-5 rules; I agree with that, that's easy to do. I'm also seeing a lot that say to make very specific rules, which I feel limits what I'm hoping to accomplish and potentially leaves room for students to counter with "But that's not in the rules!" However, I do understand that specificity removes the guesswork about whether something is or is not misbehavior.

    My school has "Tiger Pride" expectations that I really like, but may be too vague. Be safe, responsible, respectful, and caring. We recite the Tiger Pride pledge every/most mornings. I used these as my rules last year and had a class discussion about what each of those looked like, and for the most part (when I was good about enforcing it), it seemed to work.

    I guess my question is.... is it better to use the school-wide "vague" expectations and clarify as a class, or to set 3-5 specific rules for my classroom (and then have to additionally explain how we show Tiger Pride)?

    I think I answered my own question in writing this, but I'm still curious about what others think.

    Along with that, how do I make my consequences clear when there may be different consequences for different behaviors (rather than the "warning, timeout, call home" I'm seeing everywhere online)? I hate clip charts, and I'm hesitant to use a reward system because I know I will forget to use it. But I also want to be sure that I'm not relying solely on negative consequences to enforce behavior.

    Basically the first day of school terrifies me and I don't want to repeat last year's incidents of taking several MONTHS to really get my footing with classroom management.
     
  2.  
  3. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,237
    Likes Received:
    258

    May 9, 2018

    Harry Wong has great suggestions in his book “The First Days of School,”

    Hal Palmer’s, “The Courage To Teach” offers insight on your value system and how to develop relationships with your class.
     
  4. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Messages:
    4,260
    Likes Received:
    513

    May 9, 2018

    I never understood the 3-5 rule limit. Kids are smart enough to remember more than that. They have more than "3-5 rules at home. Write the rules that you are willing to enforce and feel you'll get support on.

    Don't think they all have to be written and posted to be enforced either. Their mothers don't have signs on the wall at home stating "put the milk back in the fridge," "don't tease the dog," "pick up your socks," "flush the toilet." Our classrooms aren't governments where laws have to be published in order to be followed.

    These are some of the rules in my room. Some are school rules in addition to my own.

    No sitting on desks.
    No eating.
    No cellphones.
    No calling out.
    Ask permission before leaving for the restroom.
    Wear your school ID.
    No hats in class.
    No bare tummies or short shorts.
    No feet on desks.
    Sit in your assigned seat.
    No smacking of gum.
    No borrowing of teacher supplies without permission.
    Stay in seats until the teacher dismisses the class.
    No cussing.
    No talking during tests or quizzes.
    Clean up your area before being dismissed.


    I'm sure there are more, but that's all I can think of right now. Sure, the kids need reminders once in a while. Especially when they have other teachers with little to no rules in their rooms. Sometimes my rules are met with resistance. I'm not too concerned - they're still my rules. The consequences of not following them depends upon the exact rule and sometimes the student demographics. I'm apt to give a few more warnings about cussing to the kid that lives in the gang-riddled neighborhood and has a mother that says MF in every sentence. A girl in the midst of having her hair done might get to wear her hoodie/hat when the boy next to her doesn't.

    But for the most part, consistency is key. And learning what makes you happy. If its not a school rule, doesn't impact the learning atmosphere and you don't REALLY care about it, is it worth having as a rule? Cussing bothers me so it's important enough for me to correct. Others aren't nearly as bothered so they don't.
     
  5. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2016
    Messages:
    288
    Likes Received:
    140

    May 9, 2018

    What I've done is have open rules that cover a number of things, then go over examples of what that could mean. With a particularly critical group of 5th graders, I had to put in a "think before you speak" rule. If it's not positive, productive, or a fact, it doesn't need to be said. We went over what constructive criticism is as well. Then you can link that to the school's be respectful goal.

    I do like the suggestions to frame rules as "Do" and not "Don't". For example, with rules from the above poster, instead of, "No sitting on desks, no feet on desks," etc, phrase it as one big, "Sit properly in your assigned seat until you are dismissed," and then go over what sitting properly means. That helps keep the number of rules down.
     
  6. miss-m

    miss-m Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2014
    Messages:
    949
    Likes Received:
    403

    May 9, 2018

    I think this is what I'm leaning toward, and maybe having one anchor chart per "rule" and have the kids brainstorm examples of behaviors that fit that rule. That's what I did last year; I think the problem last year was that I didn't do a very good job enforcing them consistently for the first part of the year because I couldn't quite figure out what sort of system I wanted to use. I'm not really one for rewards, though I know simple rewards are very motivating to younger students (I'll be teaching 1st next year), so I do want to do some sort of simple thing for kids who go above and beyond.

    I did find an article about responsive classroom management that really resonated with me, so I think I'll do something similar to that.... a "You break it, you fix it" type mentality along with more natural consequences (finishing work at recess or during another "fun" time, for example; I don't like taking recess, but having to do work instead of playing when you've chosen to play instead of work is a very real experience throughout life). I think I have myself all freaked out because this was so difficult last year, but so much of it really was just a lack of consistency and confidence on my part.
     
  7. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Phenom

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    4,948
    Likes Received:
    553

    May 9, 2018

    We have four school success criteria. I've never found an infraction yet that failed to fall into at least one of those.

    Specifics about dress code, cell phone policies, tardiness, etc. are spelled out in the student handbook.

    Procedures are taught and expectations are posted during that activity.

    They key is being consistent. As soon as you allow yourself to be wishy-washy with a procedure or expectation, it's over.
     
    miss-m likes this.
  8. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    3,055
    Likes Received:
    534

    May 9, 2018

    I've never had a list of pre-established, formal rules to go through on the first day of school. There ARE rules, but I don't teach them all at the beginning of the year (i.e I don't sit down with my grade 1s and talk about no swearing, no hitting, no yelling on the first day of school). Rather, I teach procedures (which are rules) and routines. Then, as problems arise throughout the year, we discuss the problem and come up with a solution together. Grade 1s learn rules well in context - either as a predicussion to set up for success (i.e. We are going to go to an assembly. Here's what to expect, and I expect such and such behaviour from you) or problem solving afterwards. You can't anticipate everything, like year we had to have a serious discussion about selling rainbow loom bracelets.

    As for consequences, I didn't have pre-established ones. Rather, I like to make sure the consequence makes sense with the action. So, when one student painted his desk green, his consequence was that instead of painting, he spent the rest of art time washing his desk. Done and done. I often asked my students, "How are you going to fix this?" and let them come up with solution.

    While consistency and follow through is important, so is your relationship with your students. That will carry you further than a list of pre-established consequences.
     
    Ima Teacher and miss-m like this.
  9. miss-m

    miss-m Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2014
    Messages:
    949
    Likes Received:
    403

    May 9, 2018

    Thank you for all your comments! This is actually very helpful, as I tend to overthink things out of a desire to be prepared (and the more I know, usually the safer I feel about a situation). I think I will stick with just going over the school wide rules (safe, respectful, responsible, caring) and then incorporate rules and expectations as I teach routines and procedures. I will have to teach my class about BIST so they know the procedures for that, and we can incorporate the idea of consequences for actions into that (since I’ll teach the “bottom line - it’s never ok to be hurtful, it’s never ok to be disruptive”)
     
  10. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

    Joined:
    May 5, 2009
    Messages:
    806
    Likes Received:
    133

    May 9, 2018

    May I give a little input?
    In the same way I had to teach students how to meet my expectations, I had to train myself to be consistent in implementing them. I do utilize a simple intrinsic reward system that is tied in to my theme/decor which forces me to stay consistent all year long. My first few years of teaching, I was consistent until after Christmas and then things would deteriorate with my rewards and consequences. We have to be consistent which ultimately makes the ability to develop relationships much easier.
    Lots of people have a tough time finding their way with discipline/management during their beginning years of teaching. The key is to navigate it to make your classroom a better place and to make your job easier.
     
  11. miss-m

    miss-m Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2014
    Messages:
    949
    Likes Received:
    403

    May 9, 2018

    @Joyful! how did you train/motivate yourself (or do you mean your students in that sentence?) to stay consistent? That part of your post confuses me a little!
     
  12. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2018
    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    89

    May 9, 2018

    Here are my classroom rules (directly taken from my welcome letter)
    CLASSROOM RULES

    1. Follow all directions immediately.

    2. Keep hands and feet away from others.

    3. Respect your peers, teachers, and yourself.

    4. Do not run in my classroom.

    5. Be helpful.

    6. Maintain a positive attitude.

    7. Do not use inappropriate language.

    8. Ask for help, when you would like it.

    9. Raise your hand to speak during instruction.

    10. Participate in all classroom activities.

    11. Be honest.
    12. Try your best.





    Note: If my classroom rules need some improvements/revisions, please inform me.
     
    Master Pre-K likes this.
  13. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    3,055
    Likes Received:
    534

    May 10, 2018

    My concern with a detailed list like this, upfront, is that there are already loopholes. You will need to keep adding to this list as more problems arise. i.e. What is someone paints their desk green? What if someone runs away? What if someone locks the class out of the room? What if someone hums a lot and you find it annoying? What if the bookshelf is constantly messy? By the end of the year, your welcome letter is going to have 30 rules on it.

    If you need rules in your newsletter, these are my fallback:
    Respect yourself
    Respect others
    Respect the environment

    Then we have lots and lots of teaching on the word respect. I teach procedures to get those fine details in place, but none of the procedures are posted anywhere. They become the expectation. As new situations arise, we solve them together, or I put another procedure in place. Some years I have to create a seating plan on the carpet, other years they are okay. Sometimes a procedure only needs to be in place for a month, the kids get over whatever problem they were having and I can be lax about that one. It's about frontloading at the beginning of the year and building positive relationships so that the classroom environment is based on mutual respect.
     
    miss-m likes this.
  14. Lisabobisa

    Lisabobisa Companion

    Joined:
    May 6, 2011
    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    27

    May 10, 2018

    I use expected and unexpected behaviors. The first day of school we brainstormed expected behaviors in the classroom. We "came up with" (because I already knew what my expectations would be). 1) Stay in your seat. 2) Nice hands, nice feet, nice words. 3) Stay Calm, 4) Check First.

    Then we came up with unexpected behaviors that may result in consequences. 1) Walking around, 2) touching people, hitting, kicking, jumping, running, flapping, 3) yelling, swearing, throwing things, running away, kicking, hitting, 4) leaving the room without permission.

    This comes from the Social Thinking Curriculum. Great material on her website, just google Social Thinking.
     
    miss-m likes this.
  15. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

    Joined:
    May 5, 2009
    Messages:
    806
    Likes Received:
    133

    May 10, 2018

    Sorry for the murkiness. :)
    When I say I trained myself, I did things that kept me openly accountable.
    For example, I would post the rewards as part of my theme so I had to look at it every day and know that I couldn't leave it untended.
    I would set an alarm to give the reward and make a public big deal for the reward. I couldn't ignore the alarm.
    I did things that would force me to stick with my management plan. I would not reset at Christmas. I would be consistent past Christmas. I would put a date in my planner to ensure all students had reaped their rewards. That kind of thing.
     
    miss-m likes this.
  16. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,237
    Likes Received:
    258

    May 10, 2018

    Teacher 234, I added a few extra lines, to give some exceptions to the defiant kids.:rolleyes:

    Initially, my classroom rules were as follows: (Pre-K/Kdg.)

    1. Follow directions first time given.
    2. Keep your hands and feet to yourself.
    3. When the teacher is talking, you are listening.
    4. Do not leave the class or group without permission.
    5. No running inside the classroom or hallway.


    Another one I use is, "Give Me Five"

    Eyes - on me
    Ears - listening for directions
    Mouth - quiet unless called on
    Feet - still
    Body - standling/sitting and ready


    I was told to come up with rules that avoided the use of Don't, NO, Not, and Stop, because NAEYC did not (o_O) approve of such things.

    Yeah, right...

    So my Classroom Rules chart got watered down to something like this...


    Use your words.
    We are all friends.
    We use our ears to listen.
    We wait our turn to talk.
    We use walking feet indoors


    I find the rules pertaining to cursing and negative talk can be somewhat elusive and hard to enforce. Kids with these backgrounds feel free to say what they want, and actually get a rise out of adults and kids getting upset. Especially, when the kids say..."Ms. MPK, Aaron said, what the hell." They repeat it and everyone giggles. So I pick and choose on those. Specifically, if they are aimed towards me.

    It's hard to get moody preschoolers to participate at times. When we sing our greeting songs, I say, "If you don't want to dance, just wave or say hello, so we know you are here." That soon leads to monkey see, monkey do. If they truly don't want to participate, I tell them the consequence:

    "If you are not singing at Circle Time, you will not get to choose areas for Free Play" That usually does the trick.

    Kids who walk out the room are a real problem for me. I tell them, "If you leave the group or go out the room without permission, how am I supposed to know where you are? That makes Ms. MPK very sad and worried, and all your friends get worried too. What will I tell your mom when she comes to get you? If you don't ask a teacher, DON'T leave the group/playground/classroom!"

    My big drill is before a field trip. I say, "If you can't follow rules inside the classroom, I am sure you won't follow them outside the classroom. I am not taking anyone anywhere who does not listen to me. Stay home, or go to the baby class! Because babies don't know what is wrong or right. And if that's how you're acting, then that's where you should be!"

    Stay with your partner.
    Stay with your teacher or parent volunteer.
    Do not go to the bathroom without your teacher/parent
    Walking feet only
    Quiet during the program
    Don't touch or take things unless given permission.
     
  17. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2017
    Messages:
    1,249
    Likes Received:
    846

    May 10, 2018

    .
     
  18. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,237
    Likes Received:
    258

    May 10, 2018

    Some additional food for thought....

    Rules are the necessary evil that keeps us safe and sane. The should be posted because when they aren't, it's easy to forget them. Most of us know signs are posted and still ignore them, maybe on purpose on accidentally.

    The other issue issue, some of us - both young and old, have a tendency to ignore, break and bend rules as we see fit. This morning, I was greeted from behind by the blue and red flashing lights of a policeman. Apparently, I thought I was going 47 in a 40 mile zone, but actually he said he clocked me at 56. I doubt that very seriously but, hey I sat and took my punishment, and went to work, obviously even later than I already was. I digress. The point? I have a speedometer that tells me what I am doing. I have signs that tell me what I should be doing. I drift off into a song, and somehow that gives me a lead foot. The rhythm and beat of a favorite song seems to make me go faster, or not notice I am going faster. I am not deliberately speeding, but I am still breaking the rules. On the other hand, there are those who strive to follow rules.

    Four is the magic age of tattling. They are developing self-control and reasoning Fours hate it when others get away with anything, and they will tell everything that anyone is doing!!! Some of them will tell me, "He is not following the rules!" This is very important to them. To those who have no intention of following rules, I can talk, and repeat, and threaten to call parents. They don't care. They think they are above the law.

    In retrospect, I must hijack the thread. I seriously think some adults never get past the stage of Erikson's life stage of Autonomy vs. shame and doubt. When parents continue to dress 4 & 5 year olds, and not give them any choices., they develop learned helplessness. If we are too constrictive, and not let the child attempt to assert themselves, they can become overly dependent.

    And perhaps this leads to kids who become adults and feel rules are not meant to be followed. At least not in their self-centered world. Because afterall, somebody is going to clean that up that mess they just made. (Spilled food in employee break room) But it won't be them, because they don't want to follow the rules. They have been spoiled all their lives, and someone prevented them for taking care of problems. They did it for them. They know (you or me) mommy, daddy, auntie, nana, or the teacher will eventually clean up their mess.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
  19. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,169
    Likes Received:
    1,319

    May 11, 2018

    Love and Logic in the Classroom has these rules in their book, and the poster of them is pretty good. If a student says, "I'm just playing with my phone, it isn't causing a problem," you can answer, "It is interfering with my ability to teach, so it is causing a problem for me."

    [​IMG]
     
  20. miss-m

    miss-m Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2014
    Messages:
    949
    Likes Received:
    403

    May 11, 2018

    @catnfiddle - that poster is really helpful! I’m hesitant about the wording “feel free to do anything that doesn’t cause a problem for anyone else” but I may use some of the others as I’m introducing class rules (especially the first one, I love that!).
     
  21. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,237
    Likes Received:
    258

    May 11, 2018

    I needed this for my ex bf.....

    Seriously
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. MrsC,
  2. Lisabobisa,
  3. MichaelDrype
Total: 471 (members: 4, guests: 326, robots: 141)
test