Do you remember Deputy Barney Fife from Mayberry RFD? One of his favorite sayings was “nip it in the bud.” That’s something to take to heart as the school year starts. Take your time to each rules and routines and the rest of your year will go much smoother.
Rules help children feel secure and know what behavior is expected of them. Choose a few simple rules and state them in a positive way. You can get a free download of this “Rules Rap” from my website this month.
The rules, the rules, the rules of the classroom. (Snap fingers.)
The rules, the rules, the rules of the classroom.
Follow, follow, follow directions, (Point index fingers.)
Follow, follow, follow directions. Chorus
Feet and hands, feet and hands, (Point to feet and hands.)
Feet and hands to yourself. Chorus
Small voices inside, tall voices on the playground.
(Quiet voice, then loud voice.)
Small voices inside, tall voices on the playground. Chorus
Work together, don’t fight, or you’ll get in trouble.
(Clasp hands, then hold nose.)
Work together, don’t fight, or you’ll get in trouble. Chorus
After teaching the class the “Rules Rap” discuss why rules are important. Say, “I know everyone in our class has a good rule to share with us.” Give each child a sheet of paper to draw a rule. Older students can write the rule and younger students can dictate the rule. Put their rules together, make a cover, and bind to make a book. Explain that when adults agree to do something they sign a contract. “Everyone made these rules. Are you all going to obey these rules? (Of course, they’ll agree!) Then I’m going to let you put your thumb on an ink pad and stamp your thumbprint on our book to show that you will abide by these rules.”
When children are doing something they shouldn’t be doing take the book and point to a page as you say, “Look, it says _______ in the book. Show me the right thing to do.” (Most of them can’t read anyway, so you can turn to any page in the book!)