Sunday, August 7, 2011

Setting the Rules On the First Day of School

Oh, do I remember that first year of teaching when I stood in front of my very first classroom of kiddos staring at me expectantly and I thought in my head, "What the heck do I do now?" lol

One of my weakness that I will admit to was discipline. I had a hard time setting my rules, and consistency. The problem was I wasn't sure what worked and so I kept changing it up on my poor kiddos. They were like my guinea pigs God bless them and they took it in stride. Thank goodness I had a good group of kiddos that probably felt sorry for me and tried to make it as painless as possible lol. (I should THEM a thank you card sometime :)

ANYWAYS... this post is about setting those rules on the first day and continuing through the school year.

There is a great blog going right now for FREE materials that can help you get organized and started in the right direction toward a chaos-free classroom.Click here to take advantage of this amazing resource!

Again, I am no guru so I'm here to only give my two cents and would LOVE some comments on your amazing and creative ways to instill the rules in your classroom! Please! I wanna hear them!! ;)

One fun way is through a foldable. Kids love messing with paper (well most, there is always one who insists he/she can't cut, or fold, or glue, or write, or raise their hand for help until their paper is a mashed up goo of rips...)Here is one free foldable activity Make sure you have a solid idea of what you want your rules, procedures and whatnot to be before standing in front of the kids. Don't wing it... just don't.

Be prepared to model and then model again... and then again. In the midst of their short term memory issues, kids forget procedures when recess is waiting. Be sure to be clear and straightforward about what you want of them, model the correct behavior, and be clear the consequences (and whatever you do... be consistent with them!)

Sometimes, it works to have the kids help you brainstorm which rules they think are important in a classroom and why. Then help them narrow and guide them toward an appropriate list of rules that belong in the classroom. If they help create them then they will be less willing to break them (at least that's how the saying goes right?)

Decide what kind of positive or negative reinforcements you will have in your classroom. There are intrinsic and extrinsic forms of motivation. The easiest (and most expensive) is extrinsic... or better known as bribing.... yeah I said it... deal with it :)
Intrinsic deals with being satisfied with oneself for the sake of doing good. Pride of accomplishment would fall in this category. Unfortunately, this one takes some suave on your part as kids today live very extrinsic lives. I'm to this day striving to find better ways to achieve this goal. If you know the secret, please let me know! Otherwise, I will be doing my best to lead them in the intrinsic direction as much as I can. Definitely reward them for hard work (I've been known for some popcorn parties) but make sure they have really earned it.

Spend the beginning few weeks continually going over the rules and procedures randomly through the day. Use those teachable moments. Take them time in the beginning to lay a strong foundation of expectation. Believe me, I know from experience, you will spend the entire year chasing after them if you don't. (darn first year of teaching!)

So, share below your secrets, tips, techniques, and strategies for setting the foundation of expectations! Can't wait to hear from you!

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