Establish rules and consequences [P-5]

Student-friendly rules

Consequences that work

Rollout plan

Illustrations are grouped by the proficiency that they best bring to life.

We would like to communicate our deep appreciation to these teachers who are allowing us to learn from their experiences.

Explanation

We may be tempted to plan only a brief introduction to our rules and consequences without much discussion because (a) we don’t see why we need to establish the importance of our systems in depth or (b) we’re not sure how to invest students in our behavior management plans.

Solution

Remember that simply telling students what the rules and consequences are at the beginning of the year will not be enough to get them to “buy in” to your plans. Develop a plan to introduce your system that clearly shows students the rationale behind class rules and consequence and how they will benefit from following the rules. Also, consider having students collectively develop and agree upon the class’ expectations. Allowing students to have input in your management system can help cultivate a sense of ownership in students and increase their motivation in following the behavioral guidelines. For more ideas on investing students in your management system, you can also talk to veteran colleagues.

Explanation

While procedures detail specific behaviors for specific circumstances, rules are general standards of conduct that should apply to student behavior in all classroom situations, regardless of the activity. If we confuse procedures with rules, we will likely (a) create a long, cumbersome list of rules to cover numerous situations, making them difficult to remember and enforce, and (b) overuse our consequences when students don’t correctly follow procedures even though they simply may not understand what is expected of them.

Solution

Keep in mind that you will want to keep your list of classroom rules short and sweet. Create three to five expectations that are general enough to cover all misbehavior that may occur in your class (Review the criteria for effective rules). Your procedures, on the other hand, will likely be more numerous and detailed (See more about designing effective procedures).

Explanation

We often try to plan the same set of consequences for all students in all situations because we want to be fair, thinking that this requires us to treat everyone the same way. When we do this, however, we neglect to realize that different students often need different strategies to be motivated to follow our rules.

Solution

Realize that being fair can mean tailoring your plans and responses to meet individual student needs. Think about individual student interests, personalities, and developmental levels when designing consequences for students. If you aren’t sure what positive or negative consequences to use for individual students, consider building relationships with them or having individual discussions with students and/or their influencers about what might work for them.