Behaviour Management · Teaching Strategies

Classroom Rules

Classroom rules are essential to any great classroom. Rules clearly state the expectations for behaviour in the classroom and help to develop respect. They are more meaningful if students take part in their formation, with teacher guidance, and it is important to clarify the need for rules with the students.

While many teachers develop rules at the beginning of the school year, they are often displayed at the back of the classroom, hidden and forgotten. Classroom rules can be a great classroom management tool and a teacher’s best friend when used effectively.

Here are some tips for creating your classroom rules and how to use them.

Classroom rules need to be;

–          collectively arrived at

–          few in number

–          positively stated

–          clearly displayed

–          taught

–          referred to when redirecting

–          used and reinforced

–          harmonious with school rules

Classroom rules need to address;

–          movement in the room

–          care of the equipment

–          how to speak to and treat others

–          listening

–          how to work

Once the rules are created, it is important to;

–          role play and demonstrate what the rules are and discuss using examples

–          display them in a prominent part of the classroom

–          discuss logical consequences of breaking the rules

–          refer to to the rules when necessary

–          praise those who follow the rules in order to reinforce them

–          reteach them at the beginning of each term

When role playing and demonstrating the rules, teachers can take photos of the students and use them to make posters of the rules like the one below.

What are your classroom rules?


Long, J. (2000). Lecture 9: Preventing Misbehaviour[PowerPoint]. Retrieved from

14 thoughts on “Classroom Rules

  1. I love the idea of having posters with rules.

    I also think that instead of rules (which seem like such a negative thing) perhaps talking about class values (something we aspire to) might be good. But I agree it needs to be a collective conversation rather than what we want to happen (this of course could go out the window during my next T.E in the junior school).


    1. That’s a good point that you make, however perhaps coming up with them together, talking about why we need them and about them, while displaying them in a fun way, can eliminate negative connotations.

      However, they of course can be called all sorts of things. I like the idea of class values, perhaps even class goals or you could even come up with a name for them as a class.


  2. I love the collaboration, as well as the notion of a clear display. I think referring to them from time to time is also helpful. Once developed, a looks like/sounds like chart would also be helpful.

    I’m also a fan of a “less is more” approach, offering a few, broad statements that cover issues of respect and productivity.


    1. Great point about the looks like/sounds like chart. I might write a blog post about it in future! I think the less is more approach works well when it comes to classroom rules, too many and they become less effective and lose meaning. Thanks for taking the time to comment!


  3. Hi Ashley,
    I have a problem with semantics – we call them Classroom Agreements. Although they are indeed “rules”, they were arrived at by students’ negotiation and as such, we prefer to call them agreements (rules are rather things that are enforced UPON students rather than things THEY decided upon).
    As always, brief and to the point blog entry! 🙂


  4. My class and I have a shared learning agreement – it is all positive expectations of one another. I sign it and so do they. It is collaborated on over several days and we did a class wordle to represent the keywords of the agreement this year – fantastic! They have referred back to it over and over again during the year, it is on our class wiki and blog and we all value the words that we wrote together and the promises that we made.


  5. Fantastic blog post again!

    Great ideas in the comments section also. All things I’ll be taking into account and using in my own classroom next year, fingers crossed!

    I do think rules are made to be broken, but an agreement would mean letting another person down, something I believe is more powerful and harder to do.

    Thanks Ashley


    1. Thank you! I agree, the comments have been brilliant. I’m really glad to hear that you have found this post and the comments useful. I’m definitely leaning towards an agreement also. Thanks for commenting, I really appreciate it.


  6. Ashley – it’s great to see a teacher working practically with her students in relation to classroom rules. Student voice is so important in this process and the end result is ‘student ownership’ of these rules. This issue came to light at my school recently where I asked my classroom teachers to develop a Cybersafety Statement based on the rules that we use as a User Code of Conduct. The process here was to take a set of rules and allow the students (with teacher guidance) to reword it to formulate a statement that would lead to positive action. We had some excellent results however as you mention we need to constantly revisit our rules and not leave them in the corner of the room. Thanks for your post – it’s a timely reminder. I will be visiting classrooms very soon to see what’s happening.


    1. Hi Frank,

      Thank you for your encouragement! I really like the idea of a Cybersafety Statement, well done, it sounds great. I’m really glad that you found this post useful. I hope you see some great things in the classrooms you are visiting, feel free to let me know if you see anything great or something to learn from! Thank you for taking the time to comment.



  7. Below are some rules of my classroom:
    • Arrive on time, with the necessary books and equipment.
    • Enter the classroom quietly and prepare to start work immediately.
    • The classroom is a place of learning. Concentrate hard on your own work and allow others to learn.
    • Show respect to everyone.
    • Treat others, their work and equipment with respect.
    I think we should definitely follow these rules for better future.


    1. Thank you for your comment! I think they are great rules and I like how they are positive and do not include ‘don’t’. I hope they help to foster a great environment in your classroom.


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