Can you help me with my class rules?

Question:I am beginning my first year of teaching when school starts this Monday. I'll be teaching first grade. I want to allow my students to help develop their own class rules and put it on a poster so that they have ownership of them. However, I need some good ideas for some effective classroom rules to help guide them. This is just one of the many things that seems so simple but is hard to think of when you don't have any classroom experience. Any experienced teachers out there have any tried-and-true rules from their classes? Things I may not think of right off hand?

Answers:
I disagree with most of the other posts. I've worked in many classrooms (I'm an itinerant teacher), and have seen this work many times. When the kids develop their own ideas of how they want others to treat them, and how to treat their classroom, they become more responsible. Instead of telling the kids they get to make their own rules, tell them you want them to help you make the rules so they can become a community. Since you're the teacher, you make all the final decisions, and you can make up some rules that they don't think of. First, talk to them about how the classroom belongs to all of them, and they have to treat it well. Ask them how they would feel if someone ripped up their books or wrote on their desks or threw trash all over the floor at their house. Their classroom is the same way. Then talk about how they should treat each other. Write up a classroom agreement and have everyone sign it, including yourself. This will not undermine your authority, as long as you don't let it. You can still be firm and use discipline as well as use the class agreement. You should also plan on some type of management plan from the beginning. One of the teacher's I worked with based her entire plan on a reward system, and she had a very good class. Her desks were broken up into groups, and every month the students would change seats and come up with a group name. The groups would earn or lose points based on their behavior (sometimes the entire groups would get a point, sometimes one person in the group would earn a point for the entire group). At the end of each week, the teacher added up the points that all the groups earned, and they would earn one minute of free time for each point earned. This was a great motivator for the kids, and the teacher was able to work individually with students or in small groups without the class being disruptive. I think you're on the right track, I wish you all the best on your first day!
Respect is always a good rule, and a good thing to help them understand. Basically covers all bases lol.
First of all, never let little kids pick the rules. They will make up all the rules and your class will run wild.
Second: do rules, made by you, like: be quiet while the teacher is talking, do think before you act, stuff like that.
Third: have luck with first grade. Some of them can be rowdy.
Don't let the first graders make the rules.

Like other users said respect is a definite.
1. No talking when someone else is speaking
2. No cussing
3. Be in your seats when the bell rings.
I've taught at several different school with different sets of rules. But they all boiled down to the same thing: Present, Prompt, Prepared, Polite, Participate. This covers everything! 1st graders will not understand all of these words, so you will have to put it in their language. For example: 1. Come to school on time. (This covers present and prompt.) 2. Bring your backpack / homework / pencil (whatever it is that you want them to have with them.) 3. Be respectful to all of the students and staff. 4. Do your work and share your thinking with the class.
I'm sorry, maybe I'm cynical, but the "have the class come up with the rules" thing never worked for me.

You give them the rules, I would come up with a list like:

Be Respectful:
Be Responsible:
Be Ready to Learn:
Be Safe:

And then have the kids help you to brainstorm what those "look like". i.e. (and these came from my sons first grade rules list)
--Be Respectful: listen when others are talking, work quielty at your seat so others can work, take care of classroom materials, use only kind words.
--Responsible: complete your work on time, return your h.w. each day.
--Ready to Learn: have supplies, be ready at 9:00.
--Safe - keep hands and feet to self, push in chairs, use walking feet.

I also always gave my class rules, but let them come up with the rewards (of course, I had veto power).

Also check - many schools have a standard rules list or grade-level list so all classrooms are on the same page.

I'm going to be very honest - there are a lot of "ideas" that you learned in college that really just don't cut it in the real world - and classes coming up with their own rules is just one of them. Find a good mentor teacher that will help you determine what is a good idea in practice and what is just a good idea in theory.
when they brainstorm, ask questions

how should we treat each other?
how should we treat the stuff in the room?
how should we treat the teacher?
Mind the teacher.
Be quiet.
Use good manners.
Walk.
Mind your own business.

just a few rules but lots of procedures.
these few rules can be applied to anything that happens such as be quiet means with your mouth, feet, hands, chairs, supplies and whatever else.
First one needs to be "Follow Directions the First Time"
This covers lots of situations. "Be kind to others" is another good one. "Raise your hand if you want to speak in class"
Try to limit your list to five.
I can't believe they're still telling teachers-to-be that the class should develop their own rules. I agree with the others who posted here that it is NOT a good idea.

My High School classes couldn't even agree on what rewards they wanted for good behavior!

First year teachers of first graders are the ones who need to claim "ownership" in the classroom.

I think "Neener's" rules are wonderful, and they simplify the ones I used in my classroom.

You are SO wise to consider classroom management first - nothing you do will be successful without it, and everything you do will be more successful because of it.

Good luck to you!
I agree with pretty much everybody here. YOU make the rules. Make them very broad and general. Also NEVER make a rule that you are not ready to enforce. Also, do not put the consequences down. That will tend to bite you in the end. There is a lot of "grey area" out there and you do not want to stick to some kind of matrix. Make them simple enough so they understand them.

Finally, classroom management is one of the most important item you must learn. Set the tone right away. One of the biggest mistakes a new teacher makes is wanting to be their friend. They already have friends their own age. They don't need a 24 year old friend. Remember that, and you will do fine.
Keep it simple. "Be Safe; Be Kind: Be Busy"

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