Editable Rules Posters FREEBIE!

What are your classroom rules? How do you develop and agree on expectations with your students? Establishing procedural and behavioral guidelines is critical to creating a positive learning environment. Since last week was my first full week back to school, we spent a lot of time getting to know one another as well as discussing the class rules and expectations. I'm happy to share with you how I did that, as well as the editable classroom rules posters I made!

My school has four basic rules:

  • Be Safe
  • Be Honest
  • Be Responsible
  • Be Respectful

During the first week of school I read the following books to help get discussions started:
This is a teacher-favorite for many reasons! This story is not only about the obvious need to follow rules for safety at school, but it also illustrates the power of team work, friendship and individuality; Officer Buckle and Gloria are better together than they are apart because they both have their own unique strengths. Officer Buckle is a knowledgeable speaker while Gloria is a talented performer. Read this book to reinforce physical safety, as well as to remind your students to feel safe in who they are!
Finders keepers, losers weepers. Many children know that rhyme, but is that the right thing to do? Should you take things that really don't belong to you? This is the perfect book with which to start that discussion. In this story, Ruthie struggles with whether or not to tell the truth about something cool that she finds on the playground. In the end Ruthie learns about the benefits of being honest.
I love Mercer Mayer! Students LOVE his illustrations and can easily relate to Little Critter's perspective. In this story, he is growing up into what I refer to as "a big kid". I discuss that first grade is a time during which students should become more independent, learning how to take care of themselves and even their school belongings, for example. (Really, this idea applies to any grade! Each school year comes with higher expectations.) I explain that "being responsible" means remembering what you are supposed to do, like put things back where you found them and cleaning up your own messes. I encourage students, "Like Little Critter, you will learn to be more responsible this school year as you remember what you need to do."
Mean Jean is the epitome of disrespectful! During the first couple of pages, we discuss what she does that is disrespectful (AND unsafe) and how it makes the other students on the playground feel. Then a new student, Katie Sue, appears on the scene and models how to respond to such disrespectful, bullying behavior- by walking away, at first. Then Katie Sue overpowers "bad" with "good" by inviting Mean Jean to play- what? This throws the kids for a loop, but it allows us to discuss why some bullies act they way they do- because they don't have any friends. Sometimes people are mean because they're unhappy. We talk about the ideas of standing up for yourself as well as understanding and inclusion, and especially The Golden Rule- do unto others...

Finally, as a class we decide upon some class agreements regarding our behavior. I don't feel the need to expand too much beyond our school rules because like any "good" rules they are phrased in a positive way ("Be --" vs. "Don't --") and are open enough to allow for interpretation which is what we've been discussing all week during these read aloud lessons ("Be honest" means tell the truth, only keep what belongs to you, do your own work without copying, etc.)

This year my students came up with 3 simple agreements that nicely summarize how we want to act in class. After listing them, we all signed our names in commitment.
Sorry this photo is so fuzzy- my camera was acting up!

As you can see, the posters I made are displayed around our Class Agreements. I seized the opportunity for a brief spelling lesson and talked about the homophones <be> and <bee>. I was planting a seed as we'll learn a lot more on homophones throughout the year. I was very clear that the posters were a play on words (a kind of joke), and made sure that the children understood the difference between the meanings of both spellings.

If you'd like a copy of your own, click on the image below to download the poster set which also includes directions for creating your own editable slides.

How do you develop and share your classroom rules with your students?
Signature photo ScreenShot2013-04-26at54143PM.png

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