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Class rules
Old 08-12-2013, 07:15 PM
 
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Do you let your students help you make the rules for your classroom? If so, how do you do this? Whole class? Small groups? Do you lead the discussion? I would like to try this but am trying to figure out the best way to do it. I teach 4th grade, btw.


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Old 08-12-2013, 07:43 PM
 
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I personally do not do this. I know many feel this is an important part of building a community; but, I'm old school in this issue. I truly feel it's my role as the teacher to set the parameters of the classroom. I look at it as though I'm the "parent" of the class and I would never allow my children to set the rules for our house, so why would I allow these children to set the rules for our classroom? It's my role to set the boundaries and hold the children accountable.

(This is my opinion and what works for me! Different views all reach the same goals and you have to go with what works for you and your personality and style!)
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Old 08-13-2013, 03:53 AM
 
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I do, with guidance of course. I call it a Social Contract. I wouldn't let the kids make up any rules they want, that's just silly. I put the following questions on chart paper and separate the kids into groups.
  • How do I want to be treated by others in the class?
  • How do I want to treat others in the class?
  • How do I want to be treated by the teacher?
  • How should I treat the teacher?
  • How should we resolve conflict?

I first read the questions as a class and make sure everyone knows what the questions mean. For example, "resolve conflict" usually needs to be defined. We also discuss that when writing ideas down to be specific. Kids always want to write "respect" but they need to define what respect looks like. At each group they have a few minutes to talk about and record their ideas. After the time is up they rotate to the next question and continue until all questions are answered by each group. Then we gather whole group and look at each question. We combine responses and come up with 4-5 rules. We discuss what each one looks like as well. I tell kids to sleep on it and think about if we forgot anything. The next day we talk about revisions one last time. I then chart the final rules and everyone signs it (regardless if they agree to it or not). This whole process spans 2 days.
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7th grade
Old 08-13-2013, 04:34 AM
 
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Be kind to everyone and everything.

It's simple to remember, easy to address. We also have levels of behavior and a simple "how long are you going to continue that level of behavior?" usually stops (most) behavior issues in their tracks.
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I do
Old 08-13-2013, 04:49 AM
 
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We are a PYP school. So instead of "rules", I have Essential Agreements. At the beginning of the year we read picture books that exemplify the 12 different attitudes that we are expected to develop. (Empathy, Tolerance, Acceptance, Creativity, Integrity, Respect...). After we have talked about each one, I ask the kids to vote for the three that they think are the most important for our classroom community. I always reserve the right to choose the last (but never have had to exercise it). Last year the kids chose Integrity, Respect and Creativity. Every single person who enters our room will be expected to adhere to these Essential Agreements- parents, teachers, students. This was the first time that the kids chose creativity. I was dubious. But what I found is that this attitude was the most difficult for many kids to show. They were very used to being told what to do and how to do it. I focused on providing more opportunities to be creative, and they worked on becoming more independently creative and on taking some risks. It actually worked out extremely well. In hind sight, this focus was exactly what our class needed.


Many times I see "rules" posted that are really procedures.

We also have 5 school wide rules that kids are expected to follow.


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let them help
Old 08-13-2013, 06:56 AM
 
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I let my students help make the rules but I lead them in the direction that I what the rules to be. I have students write down three rules they think should be in the classroom. Then have them get in small groups and have then pick three rules from all their rules they came up with on their own. Then each group writes down their rules on chart paper. From there we pick the top 5 rules. They always pick the rules I would choose anyway. If something isn't there that I feel is important I talk to them about the rule and we decide if it should be added. I have does this in 3rd, 5th, 7th and 8th grade and it always turns out the same. They know the rules.
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:05 AM
 
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Rana712, I LOVE your idea.

I found the 12 essentials online.. can you please share some of the picture books you use to demonstrate the characteristics..

Thank you so much!
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Used To
Old 08-13-2013, 10:21 AM
 
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My first few years I did. I just don't think I'm very good at doing that. It kind of got ridiculous. Last summer I saw a bunch of pictures somewhere where be nice and work hard, so I told my kids those were our two rules. I took the time I would have used to have them come up with rules to go over what those two meant. I asked them if there was anything that wasn't covered under those two rules, and I could make every single thing they said fit.

Like someone else said, a lot of times I see procedure up. I spend a lot of times going over routines and procedures. I find the more time I spend on that in the beginning of the year, and make it understood that I'm serious about it, the less need I have for "rules." (Of course, there is still some need.)

It was probably just the class I had this year, but overall things went much better this year. I still had them sign the paper with our two rules and referred to it often. We'll see how it goes this year!

*And also, my school is big on having kids come up with everything. I did involve them in the discussion so they felt like they were a part of it, but this just went so much better for me. I understand every teacher is different, and I respect that!
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Same as...
Old 08-13-2013, 03:59 PM
 
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NewTea"cheer." We did our first day today; tomorrow we will make the real thing.
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