Sample Classroom Rules That Are Comprehensive, Positive, and Clear

Teacher in front of row of students in classroom
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Teaching Rule #1: Classrooms Need Rules

When designing your classroom rules, keep in mind that your rules must be clear, comprehensive, and enforceable. And then comes the most important part... you must be consistent in enforcing them all the time, with every student, using predictable and delineated consequences.

Some teachers suggest writing the class rules with your students, using their input to create "buy-in" and cooperation.

Consider the benefits of strong, teacher-determined rules that are not viewed as negotiable by the people who must follow them. Weigh the pros and cons before deciding which method to employ.

State your rules in the positive (no "don'ts") and expect the best from your students. They will rise to the high expectations you set starting from the first minute of the first day of the school year.

5 Simple Classroom Rules

Here are the five classroom rules that my third grade students follow. They are simple, comprehensive, positive and clear.

  1. Be respectful to all.
  2. Come to class prepared.
  3. Do your best.
  4. Have a winning attitude.
  5. Have fun and learn!

Of course their are many variations of classroom rules that you can follow, but these five rules have been a staple in my classroom and they work. When looking at these rules, students know that they must respect each and every person in the classroom, including me.

They also know that it is essential to come to class prepared and ready to work and do their best. In addition to that, students must enter the classroom with a winning attitude, not a pessimistic one. And finally, students know that learning should be fun, so they need to come to school everyday ready to learn and have some fun.

Variations of the Rules

Some teachers like to be more specific in their rules, such as in the book "Hands must be kept to yourself at all times." Bestselling author and Teacher Of The Year Ron Clark (The Essential 55 and The Excellent 11) actually recommends having 55 essential rules for the classroom. While that may seem like a lot of rules to follow, you can always look through them and choose the rules that suite your classroom and your needs. 

The most important thing is to spend time before the school year starts determining which rules fit your voice, personality, and objectives. Think about what you want your students to do and keep in mind that your rules must suite a large group of students, not just a few individuals. Try and keep your rules down to a limit between 3-5 rules. The simpler the rules, the easier it is for students to remember them and to follow them.

Edited By: Janelle Cox