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Classroom Rules -- The Foundation of Good Classroom Management

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Classroom rules need to be kept to a minimum and include at least one general "compliance" rule, such as "Show respect for yourself and others." Some will write elaborate rules, like Ron Clark, in his book The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator's Rules for Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child. Unlike Doug Lemov, who writes of 49 strategies meant for teachers, the 55 rules are meant for students. Way too many for students to memorize, and likely to create an environment more suitable to a courthouse than a classroom.

Teachers need to make up the classroom rules, since it is the teacher's classroom and he or she need to be sure that the rules meet the "baseline" of the teacher's expectations. There will be lots of ways for the teacher and students to discuss appropriate procedures and consequences, especially if you choose to use a class meeting as part of your classroom.

Rules should:

  • Be limited to 3-6 rules.
  • Be stated in positive terms.
  • Address multiple situations. .
  • Be Age Appropriate.

Once rules are established, be sure that you take time to teach the rules. Have students brainstorm ways that they would apply the rules. Then be sure to consistently enforce the rules. Nothing will undermine classroom discipline more quickly than a teacher who fails to enforce classroom rules in a way that is fair and consistent, no matter who the rule breaker.

Procedures

Since rules are meant to be general, they will require that you teach some specific procedures, especially for different environments. Make a list of everything you expect a student to do during the day, so you can consider the specific procedures that will be required

In the beginning of the year, spend lots and lots of time teaching and rehearsing the procedures. Overteach. Send the children back to their seats if they do not line up quietly enough (a procedure, that goes with the classroom rule "Respect the teacher, other students and other classes."

Example:

Rule: During instruction, students will remain in their seats and will raise their hands and wait to be called on to speak.

Procedure:A color wheel chart will establish the three kinds of behaviors for the different classroom activities. Or, the teacher will establish the beginning and end of an instructional block with a clapping cue.

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