In order to manage behaviour effectively in the classroom, I believe that it is important to instill a sense of ownership on the students. The classroom needs to be a place where students will feel safe and comfortable.
In my classroom I have exactly 4 rules to help achieve this. These rules cover pretty much any incident or behaviour that a teacher can come across. They are simple and succinct. Here they are,
“In this class, we. . .
Respect – each other, property, rules
Do Our Work!
Do Our Best!”
Simple as that. I refer to these as expectations and not as rules for a very specific reason. Expectations are something to live up to. They are to be strived for and achieved. These expectations are also positively worded. I think that makes a big difference for the students. They don’t need to be told what not to do.
I also have three classroom mottos that are posted on banners across the top walls of the classroom. These mottos are also expectations and they help to create a warm and caring atmosphere in the class.
This motto is a shortened version of the saying “Be in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.” This saying applies to people and resources. The students know what the right place and time is by the schedule and daily agenda I post up in the class. They also know that classroom resources have a correct place to be returned to when not in use. This motto really incorporates everything about how we should behave as individuals and as a class.
I like this banner because it reminds the students to act like a team. We don’t hurt each other; we help each other out, cheer each other on, and cheer each other up.
Sometimes it is hard to do the right thing, but we should always strive to do so.
Having these class rules and mottos posted up around the classroom provides a constant reminder of the classroom atmosphere we want to have in our class. I actually refer to them often and teach from the walls of the class.
This is the first of three Teaching Tip Tuesday posts. Stay tuned next week for my Rules to Live By post. The following week, I will write about classroom procedures and routines and how these are, in fact, not rules.