For many students (and teachers), the idea of classroom rules feels oppressive, stifling and sometimes just downright unfair.
It’s difficult to balance the need for order and structure with the desire to build a collaborative, fun environment for learning. But proper classroom management techniques include developing rules that guide student learning and set expectations around classroom behavior.
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Promoting consistent and value-based rules can help build a positive learning environment where all students have the opportunity to explore and succeed.
Classroom rules look different for every teacher. Some use only a few, while others prefer to use more. Here are 36 rules to get you started on building your own:
- Ask questions
- Respect and listen to your classmates
- Respect and listen to the teacher
- Raise your hand to speak
- Be prepared for class
- Be quiet when the teacher is talking
- Be quiet when classmates are talking
- Share new ideas
- Keep your hands to yourself
- Respect others’ property
- Keep your workspace tidy
- Be kind
- Always do your best
- Walk, don’t run, in the hallways
- Be a good friend
- Be on time
- Share with others
- Use equipment properly
- Help keep the classroom tidy
- Listen to all the teachers
- Obey all school rules
- Finish your homework on time
- Be respectful of classmates who are working
- Have a good attitude
- Use positive language
- Line up neatly and quietly
- Stay in your seat
- Listen with your ears and your eyes
- Contribute to discussions
- Be respectful of others’ ideas
- Follow the teacher’s directions the first time they are given
- Cooperate with your classmates
- Be creative
- Be honest
- Use technology appropriately
- Be proud of your work
Want to keep these rules close by? We've put together a downloadable PDF with all these rules that you can use in your classroom today!
How to create classroom rules
Build the foundation
There are so many benefits to building a classroom that feels like a community:
improved student academics, respectful discussions, and a growth mindset are just a few. Classroom rules can help establish a sense of community when they’re built on collective classroom values.
Classroom rules:— Amy Fast, Ed.D. (@fastcrayon) February 25, 2017
1. Have a vision.
2. Be a learner, not a finisher.
3. Lean into struggle.
4. Feed your passion.
5. Own your education.
Start with the big picture: what core values should inform the way you and your students interact? Values like self-respect, positivity, encouragement and passion are all great places to start.
Take those big-picture rules and use them to create smaller, more actionable ones. If you want to promote respect in your classroom, create rules that ask students to use positive language, respect their classmates’ property and keep their hands to themselves.
Emphasize that rules are in place to guide student learning. Communicate to students that classroom rules make the classroom a safe and supportive environment for all students.
Get students involved in creating classroom rules
Take the core values you want to see in your classroom and present them to your class. Let students extrapolate and list behaviors that model key principles. Challenge them to think about what each looks like in the classroom and to develop specific scenarios that act out the rules they’ve brainstormed.
After brainstorming, develop a final list of rules as a group. Which ones do students think are the most important? If they disagree with a rule, ask them to explain why. Discuss with them why the rule was made and how you can adjust it to the specific needs of the class.
While it’s good to include students in the rule-making process, it’s also important to remember that the final say on what goes stays with you. When you explain and collaborate on the rules, students are more likely to accept and respect your authority.
Display classroom rules creatively
The only thing more boring for your students than a long, black-and-white list of rules nailed to the wall on the first day of school is listening to you read off the list as they sit in their desks and wish they were still on summer vacation.
Present classroom rules in an engaging way to get creativity flowing on the first day of school. Ask students to help make classroom rules posters or short skits that creatively demonstrate the rules for the rest of the class. When students are involved with presenting the rules, they’re more likely to remember and uphold them.
Students, whether they realize it or not, thrive and succeed academically in an environment with clear rules and boundaries. General rules and classroom principles are a great place to start, but everyday rules should be clear and specific, with little room for creative interpretation or manipulation.
If you choose to make rules with your students, ask them to go deeper than general ideas. Have them consider what rules look like in practice, and what the consequences for breaking certain rules should be.
Be clear on consequences
Routine and structure are important aspects of any classroom, and as a teacher you have to be consistent in how you apply the rules — no playing favorites or backing down on the consequences. Students won’t respect and follow the rules if you don’t.
Be clear from the beginning on what the consequences are for breaking the rules. Consider a “fix what you broke” approach that asks the student to make amends for their behavior through actions or words, or set time-outs and temporary losses of privilege. Certain infractions are more serious than others (i.e. violence vs. speaking out of turn), so be prepared to respond appropriately.
Some quick tips to promote community and learning:
- Don’t be unnecessarily heavy-handed or look to embarrass students in front of the class
- Praise publicly, reprimand privately
- Always be able to explain how your consequences fit into your overall classroom rules
Give (small) rewards
While most teachers lay out consequences for misbehavior, consider also identifying areas where students can earn rewards. Positive reinforcement is a useful technique. Make sure to praise students for acting appropriately, and consider giving small rewards to students who exceed expectations.
Rewards can include stickers, a chance to be a “line leader” for the day, or even extra time on a fun, educational game like Prodigy Math.
Prodigy Math is an engaging, digital game-based learning platform. Students can create free accounts and go on adventures, collect pets, play with friends — all while answering standards-aligned math questions.
Use Prodigy Math to track student understanding, practice lesson material and prepare for standardized testing.
Get parent buy-in
Parent involvement is the best indicator of student success — a principle that extends beyond academic involvement. Parents need to understand and align themselves with expectations for classroom behavior.
Keep in touch with parents and send home a letter at the beginning of the school year that details the classroom rules that you and your class have agreed on.
Consider taking a few moments from a parent evening to go over student expectations or ask for feedback on what values parents think classroom rules should uphold. Communication and collaboration with parents means more student success and fewer surprises during the school year.
Collaborate with your colleagues
Your colleagues are one of your biggest assets when it comes to establishing clear rules. Students often have more than one teacher throughout the school day, and communicating a consistent set of classroom rules can help reinforce student expectations.
Collaborating with other teachers is also a good way to make sure that your rules are in line with school culture. If the classroom is out of step with what the rest of the school is doing, students can get confused and start to act out. Speak with a supervisor or trusted colleague if you have any questions, and take their advice seriously.
How to uphold classroom rules
For many teachers, student discipline is a difficult subject to discuss. If every classroom needs rules, then it stands to reason that breaking the rules should come with appropriate consequences.
In any classroom, broken rules mean wasted teaching time and emotional exhaustion for teachers. In one study about classroom discipline, researchers noted that:
“The ultimate goal of classroom order is to enable instruction. Classroom order is not a goal in itself, nor is it a way to correct classroom disruption. Effective teachers have fewer classroom disciplinary problems not because they are good at restoring discipline, but because they are good at establishing classroom procedures that maximize time available for instruction.”
With that in mind, here are some tips for making sure student discipline, when necessary, is used as a way to get back to what your students are really there for: learning!
Collaborate with your students — again
While you’re making the rules, consider making the consequences as well. In order for students to respect the rules, they have to realize what’s going to happen when they break them. Give students hypothetical situations, and ask them to develop consequences based on shared classroom values.
Even if you decide to make the consequences on you own, don’t think that being unnecessarily harsh will earn you respect. If you truly want to build an efficient and positive learning environment, you should always keep the best interests of your students in mind.
Be able to explain consequences when students ask. Take circumstance into account — an unusually egregious offence needs to be escalated more quickly than a small classroom disturbance. Apply the rules consistently so students learn the value of responsibility.
Continue to reinforce classroom rules
If you want students to listen to classroom rules all year round, make sure you’ve reinforced them throughout the school year.If rules are continually taught, students have less of an excuse for misbehavior. In her Cooperative Discipline Model, teaching specialistLinda Albert recommends that:
“The behaviors calls formust be taught, not taken for granted, and the code should be discussed regularly. This keeps it in the foreground for reminding students and for use when correcting misbehavior. When serious violations of the code occur, procedures of conflict resolution are applied. All the while, the teacher makes ongoing efforts to help students feel capable, connected with others, and contributors to the class and elsewhere.”
If students are aware of the rules and know you take them seriously, they’ll be more likely to respect them.
Balance discipline with compassion
Albert also theorizes that misbehavior is merely students trying to achieve “mistaken goals,” including revenge, attention-seeking or assumed disability. She encourages teachers to reframe this as an opportunity to build a positive relationship with students.
While discipline is a way to encourage a safe and positive working environment for all students, it’s important to remember students are also learning how to function as responsible and effective members of society. Difficult home situations, mental health issues and challenging social situations are all factors that can cause students to act out.
While none of these factors excuse bad behavior, it’s worth checking in with a chronically misbehaving student to see if you can address any underlying factors. Work with administrators, support staff and parents to develop a response to intervention plan for students who might be struggling in the classroom, or guide students to resources that can help them succeed both personally and academically.
Restorative practices: moving away from classroom rules?
If you've implemented classroom rules or understandings yourself, you know there can be pros and cons. Some teachers have had success using them while others have not.
While they may work for in some environments, these classroom rule systems can interrupt students' learning journeys and, in some case, result in the same or more challenging behavior down the road.
Compared to classroom rules, restorative practices focus on empowering students to learn from their choices that aren't acceptable, understand the impact of those actions and, from there, to grow personally in their knowledge of how to make better decisions and resolve problems.
Benefits of restorative practices in the classroom
As highlighted by EdWeek, restorative practices can help students:
- Build relationships
- Strive to be respectful to all
- Involve relevant stakeholders
- Encourage all to take responsibility
- Address harms, needs, obligations
- Provide the opportunity for equitable dialogue and decision-making
Examples of restorative practices
Whether you're thinking of ditching traditional classroom rules altogether or want to find a way to bring them together with restorative practices, here are some ideas to get your class started.
- Affective statements — Also known as "feeling statements", students can form and share them in response to someone else's actions, be they a student or a teacher. It follows a simple structure: how you're feeling, why you're feeling it and what you need to feed better.
- Collaborative class agreements — Your students will likely feel more inclined to help create a positive classroom environment if they play a role in creating classroom rules or understandings or agreements. Instead of having classroom rules set in stone before the school year starts, wait until the first week of school to create class agreements together.
- Mindfulness —create room for practicing mindfulness daily to help your students focus on being present, deep breathing and growing awareness of themselves and those around them. Your mindfulness moments can be silent or guided — one or the other might be more suitable on any given day.
- Restorative circles — These are great for helping your students build social awareness, relationship skills and a sense of community. It will require vulnerability (something not all students may be comfortable with), so you may need to help lead this time and share thoughts, feelings or concerns of your own.
- Problem-solving anchor chart — These are a great tool help empower students to constructively and collaboratively solve their own problems. As a class, brainstorm two types of scenarios: ones that students would require teacher help to resolve (e.g., class theft, a fight) and others that students can try to solve independently (e.g., a student is using an item that another one wants, someone who wants to play or work independently instead of as a group).
Recognizing that classroom rules are but a part of classroom management. Depending on your class' specific set of classroom rules, restorative practices can provide a more empathetic approach to solving problems
Final thoughts on classroom rules
Each teacher uses their classroom rules differently, because each class is different. Some students might need structure and clearly defined boundaries, while others respond positively to more freedom. Encourage student buy-in, continuously communicate the rules and uphold them as necessary to find what works best for your classroom.
Long days and large classes can make it difficult to respond to every need or problem equally. Do your best, and make sure that your students know that you want to see them succeed — that’s what matters the most.
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Class Expectations : Be the 5 P's
This is a classroom expectation poster using the 5 P's : be polite, be prepared, be prompt, be productive, be patient.
- Treat others with respect at all times.
- Listen to the teacher when s/he speaks.
- Ask for help when you need it.
- Be prepared every day with required items.
- Respect other people's property.
- Listen and follow directions.
- Raise your hand before speaking or leaving your seat.
- Arrive on time for class.
- Raise your hand to speak or volunteer.
- Follow the dress code of the school.
- Do not cheat or copy other people's work.
- Complete all assignments.
- Listen to the teacher when being spoken to and answer your question.
- Respect everyone in the class.
Class Expectations : Be the 5 P's
This is a classroom expectation poster using the 5 P's : be polite, be prepared, be prompt, be productive, be patient.
So, the moral values fall within categories of being kind, honest, gentle, listen well, working hard, looking after property. Due to this, it is a great idea to clearly depict, discuss and embed these rules with children. This helps children have a clear picture of what good, respectful behaviour looks like.What is the number one rule in class? ›
Top Classroom Rules
Be kind, polite, and courteous to others. Keep your hands and feet to yourself. Be respectful of classmates, teachers, and property. Listen to the teacher and classmates, and follow directions.
PBIS stands for Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports. It is a program that promotes positive behavior. PBIS is based on teaching students the four school rules (4 Bs): Be Respectful, Be Responsbile, Be Safe and Be Kind.What are classroom rules important? ›
Establishing classroom rules and procedures helps teachers maintain class routines and student expectations for classwork and behaviors. Classroom rules and procedures that are clearly defined and posted help students understand what is appropriate and what is not, as well as the consequences for rule violations.What is the 10 10 rule in classroom management? ›
The Ten-Ten Rule requires all students to be in class the first 10 minutes of every class and the concluding 10 minutes of class (barring medical emergency). This ensures the safety and security of the campus as well as promotes maximum use of instructional time for students.What is the 10 10 classroom rule? ›
This tool helps prevent the number of times students ask to leave the room during important informational times. This is done by implementing the 10/10 rule where students don't leave the room during the first or last ten minutes of class.
Research supports the idea that having five positive interactions to every one negative interaction best supports and sustains constructive student-teacher relationships. This is known as the 5-to-1 ratio.What are the classroom rule categories? ›
Edutopia blogger Rick Curwin believes that rules and limits, while necessary in a classroom, are subtly shaded in meaning and use. He defines five critical categories of rules: academic, social, procedural, cultural and personal.How many classroom rules should there be? ›
Be few in number: There should be no more than five rules for each setting. This is especially important because children have to learn the rules for multiple settings. Rules also should stay the same across settings, when possible.What are the 3 Ps of classroom management? ›
The combined use of praise, proximity, and precorrection can: (1) reduce problem behaviors; (2) prevent the likelihood of recurring problem behaviors; (3) increase academic engagement time; and (4) increase the number of positive interactions between students and teachers.What is the rule of 7 in learning? ›
The rule of 7 is simple. Seven words, steps or points are the maximum for optimal memory retention. That means, quick definitions of vocabulary words need to have 7 words or less. Wilfong (2012) states that truncated definitions should be limited to 3-5 words.What is 3 golden rules? ›
The Golden rule for Personal, Real and Nominal Accounts: a) Debit what comes in. b) Credit the giver. c) Credit all Income and Gains.What is the first rule of learning? ›
Rule 1: People learn by doing.
Provide opportunities to apply new knowledge and skills by practicing in as realistic a setting as possible. Activities that involve thoughtful responses, decision-making and solving problems encourage active learning and also promote higher order thinking.
A 3-2-1 prompt helps students structure their responses to a text, film, or lesson by asking them to describe three takeaways, two questions, and one thing they enjoyed. It provides an easy way for teachers to check for understanding and to gauge students' interest in a topic.What is the 20 percent rule in the classroom? ›
80/20 for the Classroom #1: 20% of Your Students Will Take Up 80% of Your Resources and Time. Action Plan: Identify the 20% of your students who take the most of your energy. Develop strategies, systems, and rules to streamline their challenges.What are good classroom expectations? ›
- Respect yourself, the teacher & others. · ...
- Put forth your best effort at all times. · ...
- Be prepared for class each day. · Come prepared with all materials necessary: ...
- Follow directions when given. · ...
- Pay attention, participate and ask questions. · ...
- Preserve a positive learning environment. · ...
- Take responsibility for your actions. ·
This diversity in learning styles calls for a variety of approaches to classroom management. This study is anchored with the seven primary classroom management approaches: Assertive, Business-Academic, Behavioral-Modification, Group Managerial, Group Guidance, Acceptance, and Success.How do you control a difficult class? ›
- Be the boss. Think of yourself as the commander in chief! ...
- Redirect Attention. ...
- Let the children call the shots... ...
- Give Incentives to Do Their Best. ...
- Keep an Eye Out. ...
- Establish Consequences for Misbehaving.
Comfort is key. Sufficient space and good lighting (preferably natural light are non-negotiable. Dark, cramped classrooms fail to facilitate learning. Beyond this, good classrooms have clear acoustics, high air quality and a balanced temperature.What are examples of rules? ›
Rule: Made by a group and affects only people in that group. For example: School rules, sports rules, family rules.What are the most important school rules? ›
- Ask questions.
- Respect and listen to your classmates.
- Respect and listen to the teacher.
- Raise your hand to speak.
- Be prepared for class.
- Be quiet when the teacher is talking.
- Be quiet when classmates are talking.
- Share new ideas.
- Be steady, consistent and firm.
- Acknowledge the feelings of the individual.
- Remember that disruptive behavior is often caused by stress or frustration.
- Address the disruption individually, directly and immediately.
- Be specific about the behavior that is disruptive and set limits.
Simply put, 20% or less of the studying you are doing is leading to the majority of your results. Furthermore, 20% or less of your course content comprises the majority of the content on your exams. Remember, professors (whether they know it or not) are applying the 80-20 rule to their exams.What is the 80 20 rule in classroom management? ›
In simplest terms, about 80 percent of the results come from 20 percent of activities. Just a small number of tasks account for the majority of progress. The key then is to identify those key areas and focus energy there. This 80/20 rule has permeated time management literature and talks; it's honestly not a new idea.What is the 10 and 2 teaching rule? ›
10-2-2 is a teaching framework that advocates teachers talk for no more than ten minutes, provide students with two minutes of group processing time, and then provide two minutes of individual processing time.What is the no hands up rule classroom? ›
By developing No Hands Up strategies in the classroom it has enabled all students to be constantly focusing on the tasks in hand. Students are unable to switch off even for a moment as they are likely to be asked a question at any point in the lesson linked to the content, subject or conversation that has taken place.
- Create your own list of classroom norms and present them to the class.
- Have students contribute additional items.
- Have the class create their own items and decide on the list of norms as a group.
- Include these norms in the course syllabus.
- Present norms as a contract students must sign.
RULE ONE: Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for awhile. RULE TWO: General duties of a student — pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students. RULE THREE: General duties of a teacher — pull everything out of your students. RULE FOUR: Consider everything an experiment.What does a 6 1 1 classroom mean? ›
This is an 6:1:1 classroom (6 students, 1 teacher, and 1 aide) for students with mild to severe emotional disabilities. The child many have borderline to above average cognitive ability, a mental health diagnosis, and display intense challenging behaviors that interfere with learning.How do you do the daily 5 in the classroom? ›
The Daily 5 is a framework that allows students to participate in 5 different activities each and every day: Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Work on Writing and Work on Words.How does daily 5 work in the classroom? ›
Daily 5 is a literacy management system developed by Joan Moser and Gail Boucher, 2 sisters from America. The system has 5 components- read to self, read to someone, listen to reading, work on writing and word work. Students are explicitly taught how to work within each component to achieve success.What are the 4 classroom rules? ›
- Rule 1. We are safe.
- Rule 2. We are respectful.
- Rule 3. We follow directions the first time.
- Rule 4. We work hard and try our best.
These are in order, researching and creating your plan, organizing it, and finally putting it into action. Once you do these three steps, you are on your way to success.What are the key elements for a successful classroom? ›
- Clear Expectations. ...
- Consistent Rules and Procedures. ...
- Positive Reinforcement. ...
- Effective Communication. ...
- Proactive Planning. ...
- Setting Clear Expectations. ...
- Establishing a Positive Classroom Culture. ...
- Using Positive Reinforcement.
Believe in yourself and believe in your business, show your commitment, be an optimist, solve problems, follow your dreams, live with integrity, Show your passion and push yourself.What are the 5 rules of success? ›
- Define your goals. It may sound a bit simplistic, but the first step to achieving what you want, is defining exactly what that is. ...
- Motivate yourself. ...
- Never stop learning. ...
- Be your own best fan. ...
- Do what you love.
- Set concrete goals. To become successful faster, you first need a road map for your career. ...
- Establish a routine, and stick to it. ...
- Find a mentor. ...
- Streamline your routine. ...
- Learn how to say no. ...
- Be smart about money. ...
- Learn from your mistakes.
Ideal classrooms maintain the perfect balance between work and play, where both the teachers and the students can engage in refreshing activities together. So, when you are out searching for the top best Schools in Gurgaon, look for institutions where such a classroom culture exists.How many classroom rules should I have? ›
Be few in number: There should be no more than five rules for each setting. This is especially important because children have to learn the rules for multiple settings. Rules also should stay the same across settings, when possible.What does a successful classroom look like? ›
In effective classrooms, students take part in discussions, investigations, and experiments that broaden their knowledge and skills. Whether through whole group discussion, small group work, or independent practice, the majority of learning is student-led.What makes a good classroom teacher? ›
Some qualities of a good teacher include skills in communication, listening, collaboration, adaptability, empathy and patience. Other characteristics of effective teaching include an engaging classroom presence, value in real-world learning, exchange of best practices and a lifelong love of learning.