30 Classroom Rules for a Happier Classroom

Classroom rules are an essential part of a positive school environment. Here is a list of 30 basic classroom rules for primary schools to help you out.Top of Form

Coming up with classroom rules isn’t everyone’s favorite task. Moreover, spending your days dealing with challenging situations can be frustrating.

We all want to spend more time teaching our students and, if we can, stop unwanted behavior from happening in the first place.

So, what can you do? If you want to keep your class on task and create a calm environment for learning, having clear basic classroom rules set out can be a big help.

According to a study in Classroom Management That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Every Teacher, classrooms with effective rules had 28% fewer disruptions in lessons.

So, clear rules give you more time to focus on what you do best: inspiring children to learn. It clears up more time for lesson delivery, activities, and that all-important time spent with your class.

Below you’ll find 30 classroom rules to try out. You’ll also find advice about developing your ideas, so you can make positive changes and create a happier classroom.

A List of 30 Basic Classroom Rules 

Your rules should be about promoting positive behaviors and actions – for the benefit of you and your class. At the same time, these rules should be easy for students to understand.

Here is a great mix of ideas you can use whenever you need!

  1. Be kind
  2. Turn up to class on time
  3. Listen to your teacher
  4. Always try your best
  5. Be respectful of the school grounds
  6. Put your hand up if you’d like to speak
  7. Make others happy
  8. Concentrate
  9. Keep your desk tidy
  10. If you make a mess, clean it up
  11. Take pride in your work
  12. Respect other people’s things
  13. Listen to your classmates when they speak
  14. Obey the school rules
  15. Share your equipment with others
  16. Get involved in discussions
  17. Never give up!
  18. Always ask for help if you need it
  19. Walk around the school, don’t run
  20. If you see someone in danger, tell an adult
  21. Ask questions
  22. Be creative
  23. Keep your hands and feet to yourself
  24. Never use hurtful words
  25. Help your classmates
  26. Be quiet when someone else is talking
  27. Be honest
  28. Have a positive attitude
  29. Follow the dress code
  30. Be curious

How to Come up with Your Own Rules

Every class is different. It is essential to get to know your students and tailor your rules to their behaviors and attitudes.

Below are some easy ways to get started.

Set Boundaries

You need a good mix of favorable rules and ones which set clear boundaries.

Are there any school-wide rules that you need to keep in check? For example, you might have a dress code that you need to follow.

Ask your school leaders and peers what rules you should be following. This way, you’ll be sure you’re ticking off the essentials.

Putting up these boundaries means children will know what they can’t do. Then, you can move on to more positive examples.

Think Big

Setting rules shouldn’t be negative. You can also use them to inspire curiosity, creativity, and learning.

Think about the values that are important to you. Respect? Passion? A good attitude? Put these values at the heart of your list.

Classroom rules should mainly be about what students can do, not just what they should avoid. It creates an environment where they’re encouraged to take positive action rather than worrying about doing wrong.

Be Specific 

Once you’ve looked at the broader picture, hone in on the details.

Does your class have bad habits that disrupt the lesson? Is there something that crops up again?

Add these things to your list as the year goes on. It’ll help you tailor your plan and iron out any issues. After all, no class is ever the same.

Creating Classroom Rules with Students

Getting students involved in the process of creating classroom rules has lots of benefits. It makes them feel more in control, helps you get to know them better, and creates a sense of community.

It makes them feel valued and ensures that their voices are heard. When you actively ask for their opinions and thoughts, it assures them that you respect them as part of the class. After all, the students have to follow the classroom rules in the end, so why not let them be a part of creating them? They might even come up with some ideas that hadn’t crossed your mind.

Creating classroom rules with your students means they’re more likely to follow them in practice. You’ll have worked hard to develop a personalized set of rules together, and not only will the children have a deeper understanding of what the rules represent, but they’ll also be more connected to them. They’ll be able to see their thoughts and feelings reflected in them.

Where should you start?

Hand out some post-it notes and ask them to write down some rules they’d like on the list. You could also ask them to write down what their ideal classroom would be like – is everyone kind to each other and ready to lend a hand when someone needs it? Then, you could quickly adapt these suggestions to classroom rules.

Then, put them on the board and go through them as a class. Filter out any that aren’t appropriate, then agree on what works best for everyone! You may want to have a class vote at this point and finalize the set of rules with your class – this way, your students are involved with every part of the process of creating classroom rules.

Another way you could get your students involved is by using this worksheet. Your students can write down a suggestion for a classroom rule and their reasons for including it. This is similar to the post-it note idea, but it gives your students a bit more structure and encourages them to think about the reasoning behind their concept. Reflecting on their chosen classroom rule helps children to think about what’s important to them and what they value, especially in the classroom.

How to Display and Teach Basic Classroom Rules

A lot of the time, teachers make the mistake of simply announcing their list. This is fine, but you risk it going in one ear and out of the other.

Ensure you’re teaching the rules, not just reading them at the start of the year.

There are many ways you can make the rules stick without feeling like Miss Trunchbull.

  1. Poster

Your first port of call is to stick a poster up. After that, it’s easy to communicate the rules to everyone in your class.

Don’t just create a black-and-white list where no one will see it. Instead, try to make it visible and include exciting shapes and colors.

  1. PowerPoint

A more engaging way to teach your class is to do a presentation. It can be at the start of the year when the children are just settling in or whenever you feel they need a reminder.

  1. Chart

It’s a good idea to make children aware of how well they’re behaving. A chart is an excellent opportunity to reward positive behavior or remind them if they’re not following the rules correctly.

  1. Template

Looking to create your own rules from scratch?

You can fill in the 30 ideas mentioned earlier or work with your class to create the perfect list.

  1. Game

Playing a game is another excellent way to make your rules stick.

You could try a sorting game, where children must decide whether the behavior is good or unacceptable.

Classroom Rules and Consequences

If the rules aren’t followed, there should be a consequence. There should be a balance between sanction and reward, which should be consistent.

Here are some examples of the consequences of poor behavior:

  • Verbal warning
  • Remove from the situation
  • Contact parent
  • Loss of break time or golden time
  • Isolation

On the flip side, here are some ways you can reward well-behaving students:

  • Student of the week award
  • A small gift (pencil or rubber)
  • Compliment
  • Contact parents
  • Report to SLT

However, there’s no need to sanction unnecessarily. Professor Anna Sullivan argues that punishing children can make behavior worse.

Instead, she vouches for an educational approach to behavior management. But, first, it would help if you taught students what good and bad behavior looks like.

Throughout the year, it’s a good idea to communicate with your class about the what, why, and how.

  • What: Remind them what the rules are. Point to a poster or go through a PowerPoint.
  • Why: Explain why the rules are essential. For example, to make sure everyone can learn without disruptions.
  • How: Show them how they can follow the rules. When a situation arises, explain how they should act to ensure everyone is happy.

Creating basic classroom rules doesn’t have to feel like a burden. If you collaborate with your class, involve them in discussions, and set clear boundaries, you’re likely to get a list that pleases everyone.

When poor behavior crops up, or you feel like they need a refresher, you can always refer back to the classroom rules and remind students why they’re so important.

By working with the children, you’ll be able to help rules stick and create a happier classroom for all.

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