There are two important pieces of advice I have when it comes to developing your list of classroom rules. First, try to keep the rules simple. Secondly, keep to the point. Too many rules will be overwhelming and most likely; students will fail to remember the rules. If you make your rules too wordy, students may not understand them and again may fail to remember the rules. Furthermore, generalizing some of your rules instead of making them specific can help because more offenses will be covered. Also, involving your students in the generation of your rules will help them to feel a sense of ownership. This will lead to students more likely following the rules. Here are some sample rules, consequences, and rewards you can use as a guideline.
Keep hands, feet, and objects to yourself
Be respectful to everyone and everything
Stay in your seat
Walk at all times indoors
Raise your hand to speak
Obey school rules
Warning (conduct grade is still an E)
One infraction – lose 5 minutes of recess (conduct = G)
Two infractions – lose 10 minutes of recess (conduct = S)
Three infractions – lose 15 minutes recess, note goes home, and lose Fun Friday activities (conduct = N)
Four infractions – lose recess for the rest of the week, call to parent, and lose Fun Friday activities (conduct = U)
These consequences are for behavior on a weekly basis. Each student will start each new week with an E in conduct. With each infraction, a child will also sign his/her own conduct folder indicating the date and the infraction. These folders are sent home daily for parents to review and sign.
Severe Clause: Interfering with others’ right to learn or harmful to others: Notify Administration immediately. An example might be a student that is cursing, or a student that hits other students, or a student that constantly disrupts the class.
Praise (try not to overuse as to not lose its effect)
Positive notes (directly to child or to parents)
Stickers (give to child, put in folder, or use on a chart in class)
Treats (try to limit candy, small toys such as those from Oriental Trading work well.)
Fun Friday activities (this could be games, a movie, an ice cream party, etc.)
Extra recess (class reward for receiving a “compliment”)
Conduct grades will be in the VIP folder each week.
Send home a copy of your discipline plan the first week of school for parents to review with their child. Have parents sign and return the discipline plan so that you know it was received and reviewed.
Be consistent. Stick to your plan. If changes are made, make sure to notify parents of the changes.
Note: It is also helpful to keep a behavior log for your students. Keep record of infractions with dates, brief descriptions of the behavior, and consequences. This will help you when conducting teacher-parent conferences, backing you up in case of any discrepancies.