Last October, @beckyfisher73 stopped by my room and asked about the class rules posted in my room. This is my 8th year of teaching but my first year teaching kindergarten. Traditionally, teachers hammer home the rules the first week of school. I even did a bit of this when I taught upper elementary. With kindergarten students, I didn’t want to go over rules too much. The first day, we spend about 10 minutes going over very basic rules.
There was already an established set of class rules for all kindergarten students. During the third week of school, I went over the established class rules with the kids. We discussed the rules and they gave me reasons why they thought they were important. The students seemed to agree that they were important.
After @Beckyfisher73′s visit, I began to evaluate why I did have those rules posted. When I taught 3rd and 4th grade, I always had my students create the class rules themselves. It was one of the first collaborative projects of the year. They would develop 5 rules that the class agreed upon. The point of having the students create the class rules was to give them ownership and accountability.
Why did I not do this with my kinder kids? In retrospect, I think I should have. I think next year I will. This is an example of why I love teaching. I fail. Being an educator is challenging but it’s the challenges that enable me to grow.
These internal debates about class rules lead me to consider not having any class rules next year. Does a kindergarten class with no class rules sound crazy? I don’t think so. After evaluating the rules I had posted in October, I took them down. I have not had any rules posted for 3 months. The class basically follows one rule, the Golden rule. If I do have rules posted next year, I am going to create a way for the students to vote to have rules added and deleted via a democratic process.
Why does a classroom need rules? Doesn’t the school have established rules already? Most places of business don’t have rules listed. Customers just know what is right and wrong. Shouldn’t a classroom be the same? Shouldn’t the students, along with the teacher, monitor the classroom? These are all the thoughts running through my mind.
What do you think? Do you have class rules posted in your classroom? Did you make the rules? Did the kids make the rules?