Many times when you walk into a classroom, you see a basic poster with a set of classroom rules. You usually find rules such as follow directions, raise your hand before you speak, no talking without permission, and be kind to others. There’s nothing wrong with those posters, but I feel like it is just one more thing that the teacher is telling the students to do.
Each year we start our first Bible lesson by talking about responsibility. We define responsibility. We talk about kids’ responsibilities at home and to God. And then we look over at our classroom rules chart, and guess what? It is blank. I tell my students that just as they have responsibilities at home and to God, they have responsibilities at school. We then brainstorm about what would be good rules for our classroom. I love seeing each year what the students come up with. What do they think is important? Since we only have room for four or five rules, I usually group some of them into categories. This is how our rules came out this year.
I think the kids did a fabulous job. Having the kids come up with the classroom rules themselves really helps them to “own” them. It is more like an agreement among the members of our class. They mean so much more to the students because they have created them. I have even heard one student telling a classmate that he should not act that way because “our class rules say so!”
How do you handle rules in your classroom? What has worked well for you?