Revisiting classroom rules for elementary students

Revisiting classroom rules for elementary students

Revisiting classroom rules for elementary students

It's the beginning of April. Flowers are blooming, cherry blossoms are delighting the masses, rain showers are a welcome change, and bunny rabbits are multiplying at a rapid pace. Of course, not everything is so lovely in April. I don't know about your classroom, but in my own, my kids start getting antsy and rambunctious. My sweet third-graders start showing their fourth-grade colors in April. My girls begin getting clique-y, and my boys begin getting way too handsy with one another. April is the time when I revisit all the classroom rules and routines to help get a handle on some of these behaviors!

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The two areas that my kids have the hardest time with around April is stopping when they hear the chime, and how to properly conduct themselves during Quiet Time. Read on to learn more!

Try interactive modeling

We sit down on the rug and revisit all our expectations and rules throughout the week. This might sound like it will take up a lot of valuable time in a day, but honestly it allows us to learn more the rest of the year. Behavior ceases as kids remember the rules and expectations from the beginning of the year. We even create new anchor charts!

I learned about interactive modeling through several Responsive Classroom courses that I took- I HIGHLY recommend signing up for these professional development courses if they are offered at your district. The Responsive Classroom approach "empowers educators to create safe, joyful, and engaging learning communities where all students have a sense of belonging and feel significant." It completely changed my classroom management style, as well as turned my focus toward social and emotional learning, instead of solely on academic learning. Responsive Classroom is an approach to teaching that ultimately enables optimal student learning. Instead of simply focusing on student's behavior being "good" or "bad," it looks at every perspective of a child's time at school.

What is an anchor chart?

Anchor charts support instruction. Instruction is not just academics - it also includes behavior. Anchor charts serve as a fantastic reminder on the wall, and allow you and students to visualize your thinking. I LOVE using anchor charts when discussing classroom rules and behavior expectations. 

My favorite anchor chart materials are some yummy smelling Mr. Sketch markers and Post-It Super Sticky Easel pad. Chart paper is expensive, so see if your school will pay for it!

Below you'll see two anchor charts that help support behavior in the classroom, and you can make with your students as well!

Discussing what "stop" means

Revisiting classroom rules for elementary students
This may seem silly, but I think that revisiting STOP! is enormously helpful to students. It seems like a simple thing, but many times after being told to stop, kids continue to be playing with a pencil, talking to a friend, etc. After creating the anchor chart, we practice what stop looks and sounds like. We read/write/talk to friends, I ring the chime, and we see how fast that it will take students to stop. We do a few rounds, and they adore seeing how fast that they can stop!

Incorporate Quiet Time into your day

Revisiting classroom rules for elementary students
My school does Responsive Classroom, so each day we have Quiet Time for ten minutes. This is a time for my kids to refocus after a busy morning and afternoon of math, writing, recess, lunch, and specials. It gets us ready to finish off the day on a positive note. For ten minutes, students can read, write, or draw. The teacher gets to choose to do whatever he/she wishes as well! It's a time to free our brains and refocus. However, by April, Quiet Time starts getting borderline obnoxious. Many of my boys choose to walk all over the room writing notes to their buddies. We revisit the Quiet Time rules and expectations to remind students that it is a time for all of us to regain our self-control and focus upon ourselves. 

Conclusion

Which routines do you return to in your classroom? 

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