A classroom environment is different from a home environment; therefore, it is necessary to establish a set of rules and regulations regarding behavior at school at the beginning of the school year. Teachers must make these expectations clear to the children, and even involve the children in creating the rules. This will ensure a positive and productive learning atmosphere for the entire class.
A student will not automatically know what is expected of him at school. Take some time at the beginning of each school day to go over the rules. These may be as simple as raising a hand when you have something to say, saving running for playing outdoors or offering help to fellow students in need. Rules should be created to reflect individual behavior, as well as group behavior. Keep these behavior rules somewhere in the classroom that is clearly visible to all of the children in the class. You could write them on a chalk board or create a behavior bulletin board.
Involving the students in creating and discussing the behavior rules and regulations for the classroom gives the children a sense of ownership. They will be more inclined to follow the rules when they understand that they took part in making them. Ask the students if they have any rules they'd like to add. One student may point out that there should be a rule about messy behaviors, while another wants to make sure that butting in line is not allowed. If the requests are reasonable, add them to the list.
Behavior charts are especially helpful for preschool and elementary students. Instead of focusing on negative behaviors, use the chart to reflect good behaviors. The chart may have the name of each student on it with a box next to each name for every day of the week. When the student practices good behavior, add a sticker to the box next to his name. Give a little reward to the students who have demonstrated good behavior the entire week. It can be something as simple as a doughnut party or a gift of a small pencil. Children who miss out on the first reward will want to practice good behavior the next week to obtain that special prize.
Be prepared to follow through with any consequences that have been established for bad behavior. This may be anything from keeping the offending child from attending the doughnut party, to calling the child's parents in for a meeting. If two children are fighting over a toy, the punishment may be having the students sit in time-out chairs for five minutes. Whatever the consequences are, the children should be well aware of them ahead of time. Simply remind the student of the offense and corresponding consequence, and then follow through with the punishment.
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