Today we got a surprise half day because of the heat – well, the students did. What I got was two extra hours to get things ready for the end of the year and luckily next school year also! I created two bulletin boards for September. One for classroom rules that I plan on keeping up all year and one to jumpstart the school year. Check them out!!
I think that it’s always important to establish a set of rules in your classroom at the beginning of the year and keep these rules visible at all times. There are two ways to establish rules: you can make them yourself and then review them with students or you can have students create their own rules for the classroom (which allows them to take responsibility for their learning – so important!). Your list can be long or short and to the point. Truly, you can choose any way that fits your teaching style.
For me, I’m coming into my class more than halfway through their academic year. There are no classroom rules posted in the classroom currently and there is a slight slip in the structure of the class due to their major transitions between teachers in the last few months. I need to establish expectations immediately and let my students know that I am serious – not only about teaching, but about their learning.
Therefore, I have chosen the rules for my classroom, created a poster, and it’s currently in a pile of things waiting to get laminated (I’ll post a picture of my poster, as well as the rest of my classroom transformation as it evolves!).
My rules are as follows:
In Our Class We…
- always show respect
- act responsibly
- try our best
- never give up
- have FUN!
I wanted to create this list with language that is simple for all students to understand, as well as language that is inclusive of everyone, not directed to the students individually. As a class, we are a team. If one person does not follow the rules, then it reflects on all of us, not just that student. We, including myself, will follow these directions – and although we’re doing a lot of learning, we’re also going to have a ton of fun.
I have a student in my class with ADHD, who wasn’t responding to our class rewards system alone. He needed something else to keep him busy and working towards an end goal each school day. From a quick google search, I came across the idea for behavior bingo. The student has his own bingo board (that I laminated in order to be used with dry-erase markers) where I write each day what he is working towards (usually coloring pages, snack, or his own prize box) and cross out boxes as he displays positive behavior. I’ll be honest – there are days where this works beautifully and he truly is displaying the most positive behavior in order to receive what he is working towards that day. There are however quite a few days where it doesn’t seem to matter how many x’s he gets on his board. It’s a work in progress but also a great tool for an individual behavior plan. He gets very excited when an x gets checked of his board and it’s a constant visual reminder of what he needs to be doing in class in order to learn and not distract others throughout the day.
I also have these rules laminated and taped next to his name tag. He knows what they all say, and I regularly read through each rule out loud to him. It’s a good visual as well. Also, when he seems to be forgetting what he needs to be doing, I am able to simply walk by his desk and point to these rules as a quick, silent reminder of what is expected in the classroom.
I’ve attached the file for the bingo board I created: Behavior Bingo (clickable). It’s just a word document, so you could change the fonts/colors and edit however you would like!