8.05.2012

What Are Your Classroom Rules?

From Close to Home by John McPherson
One of the more difficult parts of classroom management is coming up with a list of classroom rules. You could be like Mrs. Mutner (above) and cover everything from "wearing weird clothes" or "making smart-alecky remarks." Or you could keep it more simple (which is what I would recommend).

I like to show the Close to Home comic and actually keep this posted in my classroom near the doorway. I've been a John McPherson fan for many years and stock my classroom with several of his Close to Home books for my students to enjoy. I love using humor and showing your students Mrs. Mutner's rules is a great icebreaker into your own class rules. Here are some additional "humorous" images from my classroom that I posted last year, before I had any followers. :)

After my students loosen up, I give them my classroom rules. It's important to keep your rules simple and broad. Here are some guidelines I learned long ago from one of my education professors:
Here's an example of my classroom rules (or expectations):
You can download a copy of this poster free (without the website link) from my teacher store: 

Though they are short, they lead into various discussions, like being punctual, bringing all the necessary supplies to class (book, pen/pencil, paper, laptop, etc.), how we treat one another, and appropriate language used in the classroom.

Even though you want to keep your rules simple, class procedures are another story. You will want to go over little things like how they should turn in homework (Do you want it printed on paper? written in pencil? emailed to you? dropped in your digital dropbox? and so on...).

Elementary teachers will have to be more detailed, even modeling some of the procedures for the students. You can see Wise Guys' resources for class procedures if you teach elementary. They have a freebie you can download {HERE}.

Secondary teachers may not have to model as much, but it is still a good idea to go over procedures the first day of school or sometime during the first week of school. Topics will most likely vary from elementary; I always go over our school handbook rules on cell phone use, turning in late work, and chewing gum. My packet "Can I Chew Gum in Class?" is a great way to cover these procedures and rules in a way that is less boring than just reading them from a syllabus. It also places more responsibility on the students for figuring out what the rules are.

I also love Miriam  Hamilton Keare's "Golden Rules For Living" as seen below in the image. I inherited this from another teacher when I first started out and have kept it posted in my classroom for years.

Whether this is your first year or 30th year teaching, I hope you find these classroom rules and procedures tips helpful. Though I have been working in education since 1994, I still question my beginning of the year routine. Each year a few days before school starts (or, the night before) I always go over my syllabus and make adjustments. I learn from other teachers all the time. Even from Mrs. Mutner...on what not to do, of course.

Have a GREAT school year!
-Tracee


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I teach high school English in Illinois; enjoy family time, baseball, collecting PEZ dispensers, and talking about anything related to my favorite books. They include The Hunger Games trilogy, To Kill a Mockingbird, the Chaos Walking trilogy, and anything written by Amy Tan.

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