George Lucas Educational Foundation

Classroom rules

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I am interested in how people feel about posting classroom rules. In my school we are required to have several things posted in our classrooms - these include the fire escape route, class schedule, and classroom rules. What do you think of posting classroom rules?

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Tess Schmidt's picture

When they are positive I like them. Its also helpful to have students add a few rules of their own.

Tess Schmidt's picture

Having positive statements are helpful. I've had students add a rule or two that were fit for school. They like that. They especially like it when I expect myself to follow the same rules. I've also had them help me come up with a list of appropriate consequences. The first offense they get to choose from the list. The second time I get to choose. The third, I get to give them a consequence I haven't thought up yet. Smile. They aren't too keen on the last one because it gives me a lot of time to think,...

David Ginsburg's picture
David Ginsburg
Instructional Coach, Leadership Coach, Math Specialist

My five rules for establishing rules so they have a positive effect on classroom culture and efficiency: 1. Be specific 2. Use positive language 3. Include rationale 4. Think outside the box 5. Choose natural consequences. Read my new blog post Classroom Rules Rules for details!

aigreen - 26942's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

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brahim elouafi's picture
brahim elouafi
teacher of English at a high school Morocco

To my mind, resorting to rules helps set a common platform between the Tr and the SS in the sense that once the rules are agreed uppon, neither the Tr nor the SS can retreat or violate the rules.this in itself is quite positive.pointing out these rules from time to time consolidates them in the minds of the SS.S autoaticity may set in.

Robert "Robb" Odou's picture
Robert "Robb" Odou
11th grade US History and 12th gradeGovernment / Economics teacher at San J

For years I would create and post rulue for my classroom. Every year students would find ways around them, or create new problems not covered by the rules. It got to be exhausting! I think the kids saw it as a kind of game.
Now I only have ONE RULE: "don't make a problem, if you do, something will happen".
With my high school students this seems to have worked. They "get it" and I have far fewer issues and less testing to see if it is a problem.

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

I think posting rules (or guidelines, or missions for the year, or whatever you want to call them) is a great visual reminder for everyone about the "ground rules" - a common sense of purpose and mission for what you want to accomplish. It tells students some of your core beliefs as well.

That said, I also think it's helpful for students to be involved with setting the classroom ground rules and mission if possible- then its something you all share, rather than something imposed by the outside.

Selina Jackson's picture

The purpose of rules are to ensure that everyone feels safe. Let your students know this. Create and post simple, specific, behavioral "DO" rules. That means tell kids what you want them to do rather than what you DON'T want them to do (i.e., Walk in the classroom). Why is this important? Remember, you're dealing with an immature mind that cannot process a negative. If you tell them NOT to run in the classroom, the mind kicks out the word NOT and commands them to do what's left (________run in the classroom. Also, you can use Sign Signals to get your students to cooperate with the rules. You can find samples at my website.

Dr. Tracey Garrett's picture
Dr. Tracey Garrett
Professor of Teacher Education

Rules and routines are a teacher's most powerful tool to communicate his or her behavioral expectations to the students. It is also important that teachers understand the difference between the two. Rules are about preventing some type of behavior from occurring. Routines are about providing direction about how to accomplish certain key tasks (sharpening pencils, using the bathroom, etc.) It is important not to mix them up and give both of them prominent roles in your overall management plan. You have to address other key tasks in order to have an effective management plan.

The Resourceful Teacher's picture
The Resourceful Teacher
Anonymous blogger with over 10 years experience teaching multiple grades.

Rules, policies, and procedures should be posted in your classroom. Kids spend all day looking around the classroom, so it's beneficial to have this important information up for students to read over and over. Besides, when you have students breaking a rule, instead of verbally reminding them all the time, simply point to the classroom rules, or a specific rule one is breaking and they should stop the inappropriate behavior. Also, if the student tries to argue with you about a consequence for breaking a rule, you have your posted rules to refer to as a reminder to the student.

I wrote a blog about policies and procedures that might be helpful to you. Check it out if you're interested.

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