I challenge you to question a class rule.

If you have class rules, I challenge you tomorrow to look at those rules. I challenge you to question one of them. Ask yourself, “what is the purpose of this rule?” Involve your students, too. Ask them the same question. If you cannot come up with a valid reason for the rule, get rid of it. See how it impacts the class. Try it.

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Posted on December 14, 2010, in Change. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Would you call that self-inspired rabble rousing?

    I like it!

  2. Rules aren't necessary in a classroom…EXPECTATIONS are!

  3. Expectations are good when they are based on beliefs. Those beliefs are based on what all believe, not just the teacher. Moreover, if the expectations are teacher driven they will not be as successful unless there is a buy in by students. That buy in happens when students are given input.

  4. My teaching took a giant leap forward my fourth year when we started school by taking the rules down from the wall.

  5. I had a sheet of over 20 rules when I started teaching, now I have one.

  6. Interesting challenge.

    I have been reflecting on my approach to classroom expectations a lot recently. This year, I tried something new and I was really happy with the result.

    In short, it involved students having discussions about what our classroom expectations should be, but more importantly, what the classroom would “look”, “sound” and “feel” like when the expectations were followed.

    Students then worked in small groups to create a photo-snapshot of the expectations. I photographed all of the students acting out their expectations and used Animoto to create a short video. It is now something that we watch as a class every few weeks to remind ourselves what it means to uphold the expectations.

    I liked that students needed to work together to complete the project and felt that they had some investment in the creation of the classroom expectations video. Besides, it's just way cooler than having a list of rules posted on the wall!

    I have blogged about the task in greater detail here: http://ideaconnect.edublogs.org/2010/09/21/a-new-approach-to-classroom-expectations/

  7. Graham, what a cool thing you have done with your students this year. Indeed, when the students have investment in the creation of the classroom expectations, they are more intrinsically motivated to uphold the expectations. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Excellent stuff GW! I'go right ahead and do this after Christmas! Thanks for sharing!

  9. I don't have class rules. We have class agreements. What are the essential elements of a learning environment and what do we need to agree to in order to insure our classroom is a positive learning environment? My kids help me answer those questions the first few days of class. We then boil it down to the agreements needed and create a class poster as a reminder of what we agreed to. We all sign it and we revisit it during the year, adding or clarifying as needed. My classroom is so much more pleasant.

  10. Back in the middle school, I used to start the year with fifteen basic rules. My students earned the right to cross off a rule by proving with their actions that they didn't need it. A time or two we had to put a rule back up, but that was a rare occurrence. Students were in control of the rules, and the peer pressure to behave in such a way that a rule wasn't needed was really, really effective. (Students even wrote their own rules sometimes, when they decided one was necessary.) I miss the middle school; that age is still my favorite.

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