The Only 3 Classroom Rules You’ll Ever Need
I’ve had many variations on class rules over the past 15 years, but now that I’ve come up with these 3 rules, I’ll never go back to anything else!
Because I’m a language and rhetoric junkie, I am really big on the little ways I can tweak my language as a teacher to create more buy in and engagement from my students. One way I do this is by not calling our classroom rules, rules. Of course that is really what they are. But when I phrase it as “our three promises,” it feels so much more inclusive and much less like a mandate from above where I am dictating. “Our promises” gives the impression that we are all doing this together for the good of each other and our classroom community and that they are a joint plan for all of us.
Literally ANYTHING I want my students to be doing is encompassed in these 3 rules. If they are following the three promises, it is pretty impossible for them to be doing something they shouldn’t be doing. Leaning back in your chair? Then you aren’t following promise number 2 or 3. Talking loudly during work time? Need to work on promise number 1. Hit a friend when you were angry? Then you are breaking promise number 1 and 3.
On the first day of school, we brainstorm a list of things we can do for a successful year. The second day of school, I whip out the 3 promises poster that I already made, but that always correlates with the ideas they have come up with. I tell them that as I was looking over their list of ideas for a great year, I realized that they fell into three groups and that if we promised each other to do these three things, we would be covering all the things we wanted to do this school year to make it great.
Here’s the poster I’ve been using for the past several years.