Establishing classroom norms and setting expectations is an incredibly important first step towards helping your students behave responsibly and work to the best of their ability. This lesson will discuss some strategies to successfully establish classroom norms.
Classroom Norms Defined
The key to running an organized and hardworking classroom is establishing classroom norms very early in the school year. Classroom norms are the set of expected behaviors for students that govern how they act in (and sometimes out of) the classroom. Creating a system of classroom norms comes with the necessity to set expectations with your students.
This lesson will detail some strategies used in a third grade classroom to establish classroom norms and set expectations with students. These strategies can be modified and put into place in your own classroom.
Mr. Miller is a veteran teacher who has been working for 20 years. He has ample experience creating a productive, safe, and organized learning environment for his students. The first step towards creating this environment, according to Mr.
Miller, is to establish classroom norms and set expectations with students early.For Mr. Miller, the most important step in doing this is to make sure that these norms and expectations are put into place on the very first day of school. This means having a plan ready to be put into place the second the new students enter his classroom.For example, as soon as his new students enter the classroom, Mr. Miller informs them what is expected of them at the beginning of each day. All of his students are to quietly hang their coats and backpacks up and get ready to start the day.
This routine for starting the day is going to be repeated every morning until the end of the year, so establishing it early will give students ample time to get used to it.
Supporting Expectations Consistently
Another important step in establishing classroom norms is making sure that they are clear and understood by every student. For example, Mr. Miller has a procedure for what students should do if they need to use the bathroom. He explains this procedure to students on the first day of school and then spends the next few weeks reminding students of the procedure until he knows that each student understands his expectations.This same process is repeated for every classroom norm, such as sharpening pencils, getting tissues, or lining up to leave the room. Mr.
Miller gives his students ample experience and exposure to his expectations. Once he believes each student understands the expectations, he continuously reinforces the behaviors. For example, if a student deviates from the classroom norms, they are corrected and reminded of the expected way to behave.By establishing clear classroom norms for any small activity students might need to do throughout the day, there are fewer interruptions during class-time. Once students understand the expectations, they are able to independently carry out many minor tasks without needing to ask the teacher for help or permission.Mr. Miller’s classroom norms extend beyond daily classroom chores.
He also sets expectations for how students should complete their work and engage with other students. For example, Mr. Miller uses a procedure for asking for help in which a student must quietly ask two other students near them before asking Mr. Miller.
Setting high academic expectations for student work is important for helping your students achieve to the best of their ability. Once Mr. Miller feels that his students know and understand his high expectations, he never accepts anything less. It is incredibly important to consistently reinforce high expectations for learning in your classroom.
Modification and Re-Evaluation
The strategies used in Mr. Miller’s classroom can be used in any classroom, including yours! However, it is important to adapt and modify these methods to fit the grade group that you are teaching.
For example, students in kindergarten are not likely to ask their neighbors for help before the teacher. Therefore, this expectation is better saved for older students.
Establishing classroom norms and setting high expectations for your students is incredibly important for helping you create a safe and productive learning environment for your students. The tips and strategies detailed in this lesson, like stating expectations clearly and supporting expectations consistently, will help you begin to create your own plan for norms and expectations.
However, you should always keep in mind the age and grade level of your students, and adjust your plan accordingly.