Studies show that giving the students some ownership in establishing their environment goes a long way in maintaining a disciplined and well-behaved classroom. Educators nowadays do not lecture their students but believe in open communication and activities to build a sense of community and develop some classroom rules. Let us take a look at some activities a teacher can turn to involve the students in establishing classroom rules.
Top 5 Activities for Establishing Classroom Rules
We often see that in school students are told what to do and how to think. No explanation is given, and students are not thought to think for themselves or question archaic practices. This often breeds narrow thinking and is not an efficient way of teaching.
Instead, if the teachers involve the students in the thinking process and give them a voice, they are more likely to meet the classroom expectations and follow the classroom rules. Students will feel more valued and heard. The idea is to give the students what they need to get what you want. Let us see some activities that will help in establishing classroom rules.
1] Classroom Rules Contract
This is a fun and innovative way to get the students to develop and participate in positive classroom behavior. At the beginning of the year, the teacher will discuss with the students how they wish to be treated. Then a contract is drawn up detailing how students and teachers will treat each other. And, it also includes how they will handle conflict. At the end of the discussion, each student signs the contract and is given a copy of the same. When the teacher finds any student misbehaving or slipping, they are reminded of their contract.
2] Creating Web Charts
This is a group activity. Divide the students into small groups of 4-5. Then give each group the task of creating a web-chart of rules about one aspect of the classroom. Like one group will create a web chart labeled ‘respecting fellow students’ and another will focus on ‘art room rules’ and the third group will focus on ‘classroom etiquette’ etc. Seeing the rules in a visual form as a web chart will help the students visualize and memorize them.
3] Sticky Note Activity
This is an activity for older students to learn how to realize their expectations. Place one sticky note on each bench stating an expectation the teacher has from the student. like – “Respect…” or “Give your best effort”, “Be more responsible” etc. Then ask the students to write specific ways in which they will try to realize these expectations. Like “I will be more respectful of my friends by considering their feelings”.
4] Essay Writing
Have the students write a small paragraph on their visualization of a perfect classroom. Remind them that this is an essay on a real classroom, not a fiction or fantasy essay. Then ask them to underline the most important phrases, words from the essay. Have them come and read their ideas and you will find that a lot of them overlap. Create a class statement based on these ideas and display it in the classroom.
5] Characteristics of a Good Student/Person
Ask the students to make a list of characteristics that makes one a good student or a good person. Give them enough time to brainstorm and come up with at least 5 qualities. Then compare all the lists and come up with a collaborative list of qualities. Let this be the guideline in preparing your classroom rules.
Along with establishing classroom rules, it is also important to track their implementation. Reinforcing the rules from time to time is essential to their success. Teachers can keep a chart tracking the performance and progress of students to encourage good behavior in the classroom.