July 2021 - Miss Clark's Spoonful

Easy to Follow Steps for Setting Up Classroom Rules and Expectations

My top tip for heading back to school is to spend the first six weeks of school building your classroom community.

During these six weeks, usually on the second or third day of school, is the day when classroom rules and expectations are created.

In order for this to be successful, make it a COLLABORATIVE PROCESS!

Here's what this looks like in my classroom:


I gather my students in our meeting area. I open the discussion by explaining that we'll work together to create rules for our classroom.

We have a brief chat about what rules are, and why they are important.

creating classroom rules accessing prior knowledge discussion questions

These questions allow me to tap into your students prior knowledge and lead into the rule creation process.


I have my students simply brainstorm rules they think are important to follow in their classroom. I'll record every. single. one. down.

We end up with quite a list, but that's okay! The important thing is that all students are feeling heard, and their ideas are being recorded.


After we have our mega list and the ideas start to slow down, here's where the true facilitation comes in on my end.

I begin grouping similar ideas together with the end goal of creating five simply worded classroom rules in mind.

The conversation goes something like this:

Me: "Wow, these are a lot of really important expectations! We have such a great list here that it could be hard to remember all of them. I notice that we have no running, use scissors the right way, and no jumping in the classroom. Those all sound like being... oh, what's that really important word that starts with an 's'..."

The students readily jump in to help me "remember" this word. 😉  Excitedly, I get exclaims of "Be SAFE!"


The process of grouping similar ideas together continues, until our list looks something like this.

A list of classroom rules

The important thing to note is that the simply worded expectations are framed with positive language. Beginning each rule with "Be..." is a great way to do this.

  • Be Safe.
  • Be Respectful.
  • Be Responsible.
  • Be Kind.
  • Be Positive.

Ultimately, am I deciding on the five classroom rules? Yes. Do my students have a role in creating them? Yes.

By making the creation of rules a collaborative process, students will have a deeper understanding of what "being safe" looks like, or what "being respectful" sounds like.

The year kicks off with my students taking ownership of their space and caring for their community!


You'll find these five rules, plus EDITABLE options in my TpT store!

Classroom rules posters

classroom rules posters

classroom rules editable posters

After your list of classroom rules is created and finalized, you can use these brightly colored posters to display them in your classroom!

With editable options, you'll be able to best meet the needs of your students.

Happy community building!