Module One | Establishing Classroom Rules for Student Deportment

Lesson Two | Stating the Rules

State the Rules Positively

Once the rules have been listed, review them and state them positively. For example, "Don't be late to class" does not clearly communicate what is expected of the students. Are students not late as long as at least one foot is in the classroom by the time the tardy bell rings, or must students be in their seats?   The rule "Be in your seat before the tardy bell rings" more clearly communicates the desired or expected behavior. Similarly, "Don't blurt out" does not communicate what a student must do to answer a question or attain help. Stating the rule as, "Raise your hand and wait to be called on before asking or answering a question," explains what students must do in order to obtain positive teacher attention or assistance. Again, positively stated rules more clearly communicate what is expected. The focus also now has moved from teaching students "what not to do" to "how to behave": an approach that is more positive and educational rather than negative and suppressive.

Keep the Classroom Rules Simple and Short

Students, as well as educators, tend not to remember a long list of rules.   Thus, once the list has been stated positively, help the students combine the suggested rules into a total of about three to eight, depending on the maturity level of the class.   Here is a sample list of eight classroom rules:

Bring books, pencil, and paper to class every day

Be in your seat when tardy bell rings

Listen carefully to the teacher

Follow all directions given by the teacher

Complete all assignments

Show courtesy and respect to others

We will help others who are being bullied by getting adult help and/or speaking out

We will try to include ALL students in activities

Keep Rules Developmentally Appropriate

Rules need to be appropriate to the developmental level of the students. For example, most preschool children do not benefit from complex rules or general guidelines (e.g., Be respectful) that are not based on concrete activities. The statement "touch your friends gently," may be an appropriately stated rule for 2-year-olds, while "solve your problems by talking, not hitting," may be more suitable for 4-year-olds.  Such rules occur within activities or the children's interaction . For more examples, a preschooler who was frustrated with a difficult task might be told, "Say, 'Teacher, I need help,'" followed by teacher help. Or, when students are coming in from the play-yard, a statement such as "Bikes stay on the playground," might be appropriate.  




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