The following activities can be completed over the course of a few weeks at the start of a new school year as a means to develop shared classroom expectations and rules.
Number 1 – Exploring the space
Allow students free time to explore the different areas and equipment of the building (computer end, library area, couches, puzzle table, board games).
As they are exploring, ask them to consider what rules need to be in place to ensure the area / equipment operate successfully.
Number 2 – Helpful and hindering behaviours filming and two column chart
In small groups, give students a task to complete that requires team work. Don’t explain to the students why we are doing this, just tell them that the task needs to be completed.
As groups work, film students in action. Avoid discouraging poor behaviour, instead, try to capture it on camera. Also try to capture examples of positive behaviour.
In the next session, watch back the footage and have students complete a two column chart, noting down on one side behaviours they observe to be helpful to the groups task and on the other side, behaviours they observe to be hindering to the groups task. (Stress to the students that you do not want names, just the behaviours noted down.)
Discuss those helpful behaviours as they will be considered when forming rules for the building.
Number 3 – What makes a successful learner / What makes a successful teacher
Trace around the body of one student on a larger role of paper and cut it out. Have the rest of the class note down on sticky notes skills and attributes that make a successful learner. They then place their sticky notes on the cut out outline of a student. Students need to be able to explain ideas and why they think their chosen skill/attribute is important to be a successful learner.
Afterwards, display all the listed skills and attributes on laminated cards and blue tac them to the student outline cut out on the wall. Throughout the year students can take the words from the display and place it in front of them as a reminder or as a goal to work on.
The same activity can be down about the teacher. This allows you to see what students want out of their teacher.
Number 4 – Why we need rules and how to write them
Discuss and list the reasons why we need rules at school (to keep us safe, to keep us happy, to help us learn)
Discuss why we write rules as a positive (because it focusses on the correct action rather than the incorrect).
Practise writing rules from a positive perspective
Number 5 – Drafting and agreeing to building rules
In small groups, students brainstorm their ideas for rules that we need to help the building operate successfully as a learning environment.
Encourage students to focus on: their time exploring the area/equipment, the helpful behaviours from their two column chart and the list of skills/attributes of a successful learner. Remind students the three reasons why we have rules at school.
Afterwards, go through all of the brainstormed ideas, and write all of their ideas onto separate cards (some rules will have been covered by more than one group, however only on card is needed).
In the next session, display all of the cards around the room for students to see. Conduct a gallery walk where students move slowly around the room and read all of the cards. They then take three sticky dots and place their dots on the three rules they believe to be most important.
Afterwards, tally up the rules with the most dots (you may find that some can be merged). Select the top 4 or 5 to become your rules for the year.
Display these prominently all over the building. Over the next week or so during circle time discussions, an pack each rule to ensure that students understand what it means, why it’s important and what it looks like in action.
If you like this, or have an idea to improve it, please consider sharing it on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook or leave a comment below.
Feature image courtesy of:
Glogster @ LINK