Grade: Middle
Subject: other

#2908. Classroom Rules Why have them?

other, level: Middle
Posted Thu Aug 7 18:34:40 PDT 2003 by Janis Coffey (
Indianola Middle School, Columbus, USA
Materials Required: Chalk board/humor
Activity Time: 40 minutes
Concepts Taught: For students to understand the reason for classroom rules

Each year I begin school with a set of rules that I want the students to follow in my room. I know many experts say to have the students form them but, I knew what I wanted and decided to put a twist on getting them to understand the Why of having the rules.

I start the lesson by explaining the above paragraph to the students. I then begin the lesson by writing rule one on the board. Write each rule before each lesson.
1. Stay in your seats unless directed by the teacher to move.
I then explain to the students that we will have one minute where all students are out of their seats. They may not touch anyone or anything and they must stay in the classroom. When they hear the timer they must return to their seats and wait quietly for instructions. During the time they are moving I quietly go to the board and write a definition on it. Right before or as the timer rings I erase it and when the timer goes off I ask them to get out paper and write the definition for 5 bonus pts. They do the awww that's not fair and we take a few minutes to discuss how wandering and moving can cause you to lose valuable information.

2. Raise your hand or wait for your name to be picked to speak during instruction.

I have each of the students to think of a sentence I let it be about their day at school. I then tell them on the count of three to say it outloud. Then I call on students to repeat the sentence the person next to them has just said. Most can't We then discuss Why we need to wait to speak and listen to each other.

3. Keep your hands, body parts and all objects to yourself.

I explain that my name is Petunia and I am a classmate and I sit in a seat next to a student. Chose one with a good sense of humor:) I tell them that I've had a bad day, oh heck I've had a bad year and I don't care about school or anybody in it. I especially do not care about learning or my grades. I then introduce the student next to me and explain that they do care about school, grades and learning. I tell the student next to me to take out paper and if they can write their full name 10 times on the page in 60 seconds I'll give them candy (prize of your choice works) I have another student time it. As we begin I bump the desk and flick the pencil. Usually the student giggles but, my ultimate goal is to keep them from writing their name. We then discuss how when you do things to others you are taking away from their learning and that it's not fair to others regardless of how you feel.

4. Treat others with respect and do not tease or make fun of ideas and mistakes

For this rule I simply have a discussion about how things that some people think are funny others find hurtful. I also share a personal experience of a time I was made fun of and how it felt. I then tell them I want this to be a safe environment where everyone can express ideas. We discuss how many famous Artists were once ridiculed in their time. I then tell my students I LOVE MISTAKES and encourage them to make them all the time. The students laugh at this but, I explain that so much learning comes. I also give an example of a mistake I've learned from.

5. Work on Miss Coffey's assignments only unless told otherwise. (use your own name)

This one is my favorite. I tell my students to sit silently and watch me. There will quiz afterwards worth 100pts.

I then pop some gum in my mouth. I pick up one of my favorite magazines (Woman's Day) and chew loudly, pop my gum and hum while I read. After about 60 seconds I close the book spit out my gum and begin handing out a quiz. I just use an old quiz on material they have never seen before. They all begin to protest. We then discuss how it's my job to teach them the information and that it's only fair if they want me to do my job for them to do theirs. We also discuss how I wasted time.

I then go over the 5 rules and we take a vote to make sure everyone agrees. If anyone disagrees we listen and discuss it.

I then explain that I understand this is new and that if they break a rule that I give 2 verbal warnings. After the verbal warnings if they still persist in breaking the rule we do a memorization activity with the rule and they have to right it ten times or repeat the rule over and over 10 times. I want them to have every possible chance to learn and remember the rules. If doing this twice does not work we go to detentions, phone calls ect. I also go over my reward system.

I then have each student walk up and sign the rule poster. This way I always have record that they agree and understand the rules:)

Many times I'll say very nicely. Do you remember the raise your hand rule that you signed and why we do it. They will say "oh I forgot" and I say that's o.k. just please try and remember so that class will run smoothly and I smile. I get more students working with me this way.

Some additions tips:
At about the 2nd or 3rd week of school I get a gallon of icecream and my index cards (each one for each child with name,telephone,number and address)I sit and make a positive call for each child. I log the date and response on the card. Even the student who has been giving me a hard time I find something positive to say. You would be surprised how many students have changed. Plus when I do have a problem the parents are much more responsive to me. I have 90 students so this sometimes has to be done in small increments.

2.I use these card to call on students as well. I keep them and my cell phone right be my @ all times. A student sometimes only has to see me pat my phone. I also use my cards to call on students randomly. I have the students create a business card at the beginning of the year. They make one of what they want to be and a personal quote.
Ex. Tyler Brodder Pro Basketball Player
"I shoot for the stars"
Mom Shelly Brodder 645 3215
23 pine woods Ave
Columbus, OH 43214

3. I also go a little further with the rule situation. I teach in a very Urban inner city school. I discuss with them that in school and in a business there are hidden rules that we are expected to abide by. The problem is that no one tells us what those rules are. I said some are just known and others we just expect people to know. I tell them that I care about them and that I want them to be sucessful and someday know how to behave in a work setting. I then explain there are too many rules to try and tell them. I tell them I will use the phrase "inappropriate for school or business" if I catch them doing something they should not be doing. Fighting and severe behaviors may come with other consequences. You would be surprised at how many students will be in the hallway cussing and all I have to do is say their name and in a nice tone say that phrase and they respond with o.k. Coffey sorry.