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Create Effective Class Rules Using Tips from Launch Your Classroom!

Posted on August 25, 2022 by Jessica Boyd

Schools in the USA will be starting soon! As you begin to prepare for the upcoming school year, we are sure you are considering how to set your classroom management up for a productive learning environment. Setting clear, effective rules is essential to having a successful school year. 

Here are tips on creating classroom rules from Launch Your Classroom Management!: Creating a Well-Run Classroom.

Work with Students to Create Classroom Rules

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We highly recommend you work with your students to design your rules. Discussing and planning this with students at the beginning of the year gives them an investment and sense of ownership in the code of conduct to which they will be held accountable.

A great way to frame this exercise is around values. Consider, both alone and with your students, what values are important to guarantee a positive and productive classroom. You should try to end up with no more than three or four, ensuring that the rules you develop based on those values will be similarly few in number. 

However, don’t be afraid to generate a lot of potential rules and values with your students and together, combine and refine them down to a manageable number. Entertain discussion among students who might have different opinions about the possible values. The more possibilities you record, the more you ensure that every student’s voice is heard, that they have participated in the process, and that they have a sense of investment in the rulemaking. 

Each value and rule should be explained, discussed, and demonstrated so all students have a complete understanding of how to behave in class. For example, if safety is a chosen classroom value, you could start a discussion on what makes a classroom safe. During the discussion, the students will evaluate different options, and then you can lead them to a final version of the classroom rules. This process empowers your students by directly involving them in rulemaking and gets them talking among themselves about behavioral expectations. 

When deciding on values, encourage your students to identify values they admire in the people in their lives. Family, friends, and community members can be wonderful role models for students and exemplars of positive values. Similarly, don’t hesitate to point out examples of values modeled by the people in your school—not just teachers, but administrators, custodians, and staff.

Examples of values:

  • Safety
  • Responsibility
  • Respect
  • Curiosity
  • Kindness
  • Integrity
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptability

Watch our video for an in-depth look at developing rules and consequences: 

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Five Guidelines for Designing Effective Rules

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  • Specific: Rules need to be as specific as possible.
  • Positive: State your rules in the positive rather than the negative. For example, instead of “don’t yell in class,” say, “speak quietly in class.”
  • Adaptable: Periodically evaluate your rules and their effectiveness. If at any time a rule doesn’t seem to be working, change the rule!
  • Few: Keep your rules few in number. You should have no more than five rules.
  • Sensible: Make rules that make sense!

For a look at effective and ineffective classroom rules, watch the following video:

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Examples of classroom rules:

  • 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.
  • Respect your classmates and your teacher.
  • Keep hands, feet, and objects to yourself.

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Launch Your Classroom Management!: Creating a Well-Run Classroom is available in print and ebook form on Amazon. 

We offer free downloads of our books on the first Friday of every month! Check out our entire Launch Your Classroom! professional development book series here

If you are looking for a customizable, online professional development experience tailored to your current needs as a teacher, is now offering free basic memberships. Through professional development courses and learning units, we provide actionable advice for everything from student engagement to lesson planning.

Want to learn more about effective classroom rules? Watch our Launch Your Classroom! videos on the topic!

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