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Class rules

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by jennisewell, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    I start my NQT year in September with a year 1 class and am very excited! This coming Thursday I am going into the school for the whole morning and the HT has asked me to spend some time establishing classroom rules with the children ready for Sept. Any ideas how I can make this fun and ensure children have ownership over their rules? I've tried googling good picture books/stories to start it off as well but can't find any about the importance of rules!
    Any advice welcome, haven't taught children as young as these before!
  2. try horrid henry.... he's so naughty there has to be some good bits. then you could ask them what they'd do with him (be prepared for some gruesome answers) and go from there...
  3. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I will have year 2, but did that sort of thing this morning.

    We approached it from 'how should we behave so that we can learn'. Lots of discussion about what helps and stops us from learning.

    I wrote 'things that help us learn' in the middle of some sugar paper and split the class into a couple of groups. They then took turns to write anything they wanted that they thought would help us learn. the writing might be too hard for potential year 1s, but you or a TA could write the results of their discussions.
  4. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Hi Jenni
    While the desire to get the kids to assume ownership over the rules is an admirable sentiment, it's often slightly misplaced. The idea that a child has to agree to the class rules in order to be bound by them, or has to be involved in the process of deciding what they are, is not only counter intuitive, it's also dangerous, because of two factors:
    • What happens if the children come up with rules that you're not entirely comfortable with? Sand pit mornings? Fag breaks? (*not entirely serious, but you get the point*)
    • The tacit assumption behind it is that they are equal partners in the decision making process, which already undermines your role as an authority. Besides, they simply aren't equal partners- that's absurd. They're children, and little ones at that.
    It's entirely right that we value them, and their opinions; they are humans, and that is intrinsically valuable. But this in no way contradicts the claim that we (the adults) have the right to impose rules and regulations for them- they NEED us to do this; they need us to be in charge. In short, they need us to be adults. If we defer this responsibility, it only sends the authority/ power in the room towards them, and they simply aren't ready to be in charge because they are children.
    So while it's entirely understandable- and even a potentially interesting lesson for them- to involve them in the process, it would be far better to tell them what your rules are, and make an activity about why these rules are important. That way, your authority is stamped on the class, and they get an opportunity to think and learn from it. The reason why it's often not a fun activity to discuss rules (and why you might be finding it hard to find as a resource) is because rules are more necessary than they are fun; because they are the structure, the back bone and the foundation of great learning, some of which will be fun, and a lot of it will not. Learning is often hard work; getting the rules right from the start, and getting the relationship right is how you achieve great learning and hopefully, great fun. But the two mustn't be substituted.
    Good luck
  5. Absolutely brilliant post. Listen to this man. He knows!
  6. Follow adult instructions the first time given.
    Keep hands,feet and objects to yourself
    Don't interrupt teaching or learning
    Follow all school rules

    Sums it up

    Positive incentives to follow / reinforce compliance
    -social reinforcers were the success of a target student/s leads to a positive pay off for the whole group - eg you win and everyone wins and they will appreciate and value you
    -time to spend on activities of preferred choice
    -good words to home eg sms or email with good news
    -extrinsics if you have to but least powerful long term reinforcer
    (things that students value and are prepared to value)

    Time to explain and wait time for student to do it differently
    Time to engage in relationship talk if appropriate

    Sanction steps to follow for
    non compliance with instructions
  7. Zadok1

    Zadok1 New commenter

    I'm not sure telling a class of Y1 kids about 'sanctions' as suggested by some, is the way forward.
    I was very frustrated when my son's Y1 teacher told me he always interrupted during story time... I asked if she had specifically told him not to... seems not! I'm sure you'll have a blanket set of classroom expectations like not calling out, not kicking each other or weeing on the carpet but I would think about the different types of lessons you will be teaching and give direct 'rules' for different activities. You could create different 'expectation' cards for different activities which can be used by other staff in your classroom too. Story time: Sitting on the carpet keeping hands and feet to ourselves, listening quietly, save questions until the end or until asked. Group work: Always share equipment, talk in partner voices, helping each other is a way of sharing. I just think smaller chunks are better for small children and it means it's easy to keep reminding them at the start of an activity if there are just a couple for each one... you'll probably find they can chant them back to you within a couple of weeks. Good behaviour management involves giving clear instructions, explaining why and always being fair when dealing with problems. Good luck and remember the first year is the hardest... I don't mean to scare you but rather that it always gets easier so when you're exhausted in the first few weeks don't give up!
  8. Zadok1

    Zadok1 New commenter

    Oh and... One primary teacher I knew had a brilliant system whereby the kids could earn marbles by good behaviour... each marble was put into a jar and when the jar was full the kids got an activity afternoon: sport in the summer and art and craft in the winter... worked well!

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