There’s no question that rules are a necessity in every classroom. But “one size fits all” does not apply to classroom rules! Rules will vary depending on your students and their ages, your objectives, and a variety of other factors.
While the rules themselves may differ, one thing good rules usually have in common is that they can be easily remembered and applied. And simple rules will accomplish this best!
Here are two approaches to creating simplified classroom rules that are easy to remember and easy to apply to a variety of situations.
1. Group rules into categories
Instead of having a long list of “Rules”, try boiling them down to just a couple of categories, like these:
“RESPECT” (yourself, your artwork, your teacher, your materials, your classmates) and “EFFORT” (be on time, try your best).
Those two rules cover just about any classroom infraction you might have, and they’ll be easy to remember.
2. Tie rules to a common theme
You can also tie a few simple rules to a common theme, like how you use your words. Here’s an example of this, using 3 easy-to-remember rules…
“SAY only things that are kind and encouraging about another person’s artwork.” (This includes any famous artists we may be learning about – yes, even Picasso!)
“SAY only things that are kind and encouraging about YOUR OWN artwork.” (Negative self-talk is not healthy for you or those around you… it can actually discourage students sitting near you who may be admiring what you’ve just done!)
“SAY ‘I’ll try’ instead of ‘I can’t’.”
Your classroom rules should reflect your specific needs and situation
The rules you adopt for your classroom will depend on your specific needs and situation. I’ve had great success with both of the methods above.
Whatever method you use, try to state your rules in the ‘positive’ and also post them at the front of the room for your visual learners!
For a cute story about my classroom rules “in action”, see my blog post: “Rules to Live By – Both In and Out of the Classroom”.