Monday, September 28, 2009

Ground Rules

The ground rules in any classroom are designed to set the parameters of acceptable behavior. With young kids, it's important to keep rules few and simple, and yet strong and clear. The general ground rules that I like to have in place in my classroom are as follows:

1. Be Kind
2. Be Safe
3. Be Respectful

Some will say, "But... shouldn't you be more specific?" I don't think so. Too many words can overwhelm and dilute a message for any learner, particularly the youngest child. And I use that language often... "Is this kind? Is this safe? Is this respectful?" If the answer is "no", you can bet it shouldn't be done.

To begin our ground rules list, my students and I brainstormed together. With their permission, and a bit of subtle insinuation, we evolved all the "don'ts" and "you shouldn'ts" into the positively phrased, concise list above. When we arrived at a final list of agreed upon rules, each student, and I, signed our names to the chart paper.

Each morning, now, we recite the rules, review the rules, and act out breaking the rules vs. following the rules, as part of the ground rules & grace and courtesy portion* of morning circle. (*more on that another time!)

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