The personal learning network for educators
I really enjoyed reading this article and learning about fun activities you can do with your students to establish classroom rules and norms. Going over rules in a classroom can often be mundane and uninteresting to students, especially since rules are something that students have been constantly reminded of since they day they first entered a classroom. It is vital that both students and teachers are on the same page about classroom rules, and by engaging in fun activities with students to work together to create the rules, students will feel part of the classroom community and perhaps will be more likely to adhere to the guidelines.
One of the activities listed on this site that I was particularly fond of was the "Under-the-Desk Q&A." The teacher tapes index cards to each of her students' desks, and asks them to read aloud the question on their card. Each card is listed with frequently asked questions about the classroom routine, such as "When can I go to the bathroom?" or "What happens if we are doing something we are not supposed to be doing?" As each student reads aloud the question, the teacher responds to the question and then shares the answer with the class. This activity allows for students to understand what their teacher's expectations are and also creates a conversation where students can ask any additional questions they may have.
Another idea that I definitely plan to utilize in my own classroom is having students sign a community contract. After your class works together to establish and list out the classroom rules, each student and the teacher then signs the bottom of the sheet. This is a way to visually remind students that they have all agreed to follow the rules in the classroom each and every day. By hanging it in your classroom, students can see the commitment they made daily and remember to hold their other classmates to that contract.