How Do You Rule?

I remember after I signed my first contract I went straight to a teacher store and bought some decorations for my new classroom. I was SO excited! One of those purchases was a packet of Classroom Rules Posters. They were colorful, cute and cheap. Just what I needed right?? Oh I was so WRONG! I posted them on a wall that seemed pretty useless to was kind of like wasted space so it was PERFECT for those rules. I introduced them to my students the first day of school and that was it...we never talked about those posters again...

Throughout the years I have learned several things about Classroom Rules.

I still remember the place where I posted my classroom rules my first year teaching and I can't help but chuckle... what was I thinking?!?!
You should make sure that your classroom expectations are posted in a place where they are visible during the ENTIRE SCHOOL YEAR. I'm talking about a spot that will make it easy for you to refer back to whenever you need to.
Personally, I like posting my rules posters by the door. Our door is also next to the main wall where students are facing. My students always know where to look when we review and discuss our rules. 

Make your Classroom Rules POSITIVE
When we come up with our discipline plan it is very common to see the word DON'T in each rule. Don't talk. Don't run. Don't be a bully. Don't stand up.
But in reality we should be doing the exact opposite. Make your classroom expectations/rules look positive. Communicate to your students what they ARE allowed to do instead of what they're not... trust me, you will notice the difference! This year I will use my Classroom Rules in English and Spanish
I particularly love these because it uses words like "our classroom" and it tells students about what WE do instead of what we don't do. 

Talk about them the first day week of school
Ok So you've heard many teachers say it... the first weeks of school are the MOST important ones...and they're right. This is when we teach our routines and expectations. It is JUST AS IMPORTANT to teach your students about what to do when they are done as it is to teach them about raising their hand to speak. During the first week of school I have to remind myself to be a lil firmER when reviewing our rules. I make sure that all my students know whats expected from them.

Make it fun and break it down
My first year as a teacher (I know I keep referring to this but I have learned soo much since then!) I remember I made a list of all my routines and all my expectations. The kids came in, sat down, I introduce myself and began talking and talking and talking about rules and routines. I still remember the look my kiddos gave me. It was just too much! Fast forward a few years... on the first day of school I explain the expectations and we do a small activity to go with it. You know... allow your students to get up, move and practice it. Have volunteers show you the right and wrong way to do something. Believe me, it will be more engaging for everybody and your students WILL remember!

Keep reminding
Last but not least DO NOT forget about your rules after the first week of school. I like to remind my students at least once a day. We usually talk about our expectations when we are lining up for lunch or to go home. ALWAYS refer back to your classroom rules visuals.REMEMBER: if you forget, they WILL forget. 

Now tell us... how do you implement your classroom rules?

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