Creating Classroom Rules and Expectations for Back to School

You’re setting up your classroom, and I know you’re pressed for time. It seems that “all the things” are demanding your attention. However, put first things first. To have a successful start to your school year, you need to have clear expectations in place for your students. You absolutely MUST create your classroom rules and post them in a prominent place in your classroom. Here are several tips when planning out your classroom rules for the year:

  •  First, consider referring to your classroom rules as your “Classroom Expectations.” “Expectations” seems to have a more positive connotation than “Rules.” For young students, simply explain that an “Expectation” is something you “expect” them to do in your classroom so everyone feels safe, learns a lot, and enjoys coming to the classroom to learn.

  • Second, try to state your classroom expectations in positive terms. For example, “Raise your hand for permission to speak” is more positive than “Don’t call out.”

  • Third, limit your classroom expectations to no more than 5 rules. Students will have a hard time remembering more than 5 rules.

  • Once you have chosen your classroom rules, post them on a large poster that is easily visible to students. You might check out these options here or here. Or, make a one-page print-out for each expectation and post all the print-outs in the classroom.

Here are the 5 rules that I have developed for my classroom and have used for many years:

  1. Enter the classroom quietly and get ready to learn.

  2. Show respect to your teachers and classmates.

  3. Raise your hand for permission to speak.

  4. Follow directions with a positive attitude.

  5. Complete all work to the best of your ability.

Feel free to use these rules for your own classroom. I have created posters for these classroom expectations. They are listed for purchase in my TPT store right here. I would say that the clipart on these posters is best-suited for grades K-3.

Giving thought to your classroom expectations and posting them prominently in your classroom should be one of the first steps you take as you set up your classroom for a new school year. When your classroom runs smoothly with clear expectations and procedures, you will be able to maximize learning time, and your students will likely thrive in the resulting stability and order of your classroom setting.

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