Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Take Ten! Classroom Rules!

So I've been doing a lot of reading this summer! Namely--- the FANTASTICALLY STUPENDOUS-- Ron Clark. I read his books and feel like a LOUSY teacher-- but he ignites in me a desire to do SO MUCH BETTER than I ever thought I could before!

These two are my favorites of his! He does SUCH a great job of offering encouragement and purpose!

When you read his essential rules, he adds purpose, and he talks about the importance of the rules coming from a desire to see students be the best version of themselves.

For my classroom I decided to go a slightly different route in terms of number-- but kept the spirit of several of his rules!

Take Ten! 
Our Classroom Rules!

1.         If someone does something well or wins, we will congratulate that person! If you win or do well at something do NOT brag. If you lose do not show anger. Instead say something like “I really enjoyed the competition and I look forward to playing you again”. To show anger or sarcasm such as “I wasn’t really trying anyway” shows weakness. 
(Ron Clark Rule!)

2.       Do not smack your lips, tsk, roll you eyes or show disrespect with gestures.

(Ron Clark Rule!)

3.        Occasionally we may grade each other’s paper as a group. When we grade papers as a group you are not to comment on another person’s grade. The only marks you should make on their paper is an “X” and the number they got incorrect.

(INSPIRED by a Ron Clark Rule!)

4.       Homework will be turned in EVERY Thursday for this subject with NO EXCEPTIONS. You have two nights to complete your homework and online access to homework. If you do not have a copy of your homework on Thursday you will fill out a “Taking a Zero” form.  If you have your homework and it is incomplete you will be required to take 1/5  of the grade. (I take ONE combined homework grade a six weeks-- each HW is worth between twenty and twenty-five points)

(INSPIRED by a Ron Clark Rule!) 

This is the "Taking a Zero" form for my students to fill out!

5.       NO matter WHAT the situation: Be Honest. Even if you have done something wrong it is best to admit it to me because I will respect that and oftentimes I will forgo any disciplinary measures because of your honesty

(Ron Clark Rule!)

6.       Do NOT cheat. Cheating shows weakness and will make any other true victories in the class hollow to others. NO ONE likes a cheater.  It disappoints me GREATLY and will cause me to lose trust in you.

(My Rule-- Cheating "irks" me a lot)

7.       Not studying is NOT a virtue; therefore do not act like it is such. To say you “didn’t study” if you get a good grade is hurtful to those who did study and struggled or is cheapening to those who studied and did well. To say you “didn’t study” and you failed makes you look ignorant and lazy. People can understand if when you study you do poorly, we have ALL been there.

(My Rule-- Favorite of this year)

8.       Accept that you will make mistakes. Learn from them. And MOVE ON.

(Ron Clark Rule!)

9.        Your grade is NO ONE’S business but your own. You do not need to shout out your grades when you get it. If you do poorly do NOT just wad up your paper and throw it away. You will not be able to learn from your mistakes OR know what you did wrong if you just throw it away.

(My Rule-- I hate the kids shouting out their bad scores 
"Haha-- I got a 35" and it is a chorus of bad grades and 
it makes the kids feel like getting bad grades is cool! 
It KILLED me to watch that happen this year!)

10.     Be aware of our daily classroom expectations and live them out daily.

(My Rule-- Expectations and Rules are different. 
Expectations are a part of routine-- rules to me 
outline a limit on actions)

This is the sign that will go up in my room as a short reminder of the rules! This typed up version of the rules will go on the front cover of my student's Interactive Student Notebook!

A lot of these rules come from things I've seen over the past two years that have irked me about kids. I love being able to love my students. Sometimes they do things though that make it harder to love them-- these rules I'm hoping will outline expectations with purpose and help them be the great kids I know they are!


  1. This great! Thanks love your work!@q

  2. I'm currently working towards a degree in teaching, and I LOVE your rules! I found the "Taking a Zero" sheet on Pinterest, and pinned it, but am so glad I clicked through to your blog. I will probably use these rules as guidelines for my own classroom and will also be looking into the Ron Clark books. The only thing I'm iffy about within your rules is having my students grade each others' papers - I remember feeling so guilty in middle school when I knew I did better that the person I switched papers with to grade. I wholeheartedly agree with your rule #9 and comment. I think one of the hardest things for students that age to overcome is their insecurity about what their peers think about them - they act like a bad grade is cool so they don't seem weak or dumb. That ideology is something I would like to combat from day 1 in my classroom. Even though it is more prevalent in middle and high school, I have seen it in elementary school as well (I will be certified K-6), and agree that it is sad and disheartening to see.

    1. About grading each others papers-- I didn't do it my first two years, but this year they increased the amount we had to grade by 30% and I need to be able to do something on the weekends other than grade. I review rules 3, 6, and 9 before we grade papers ever-- I felt like this was important. The kids are pretty good about it in general.

      I hope you do read the Ron Clark books-- they are absolutely fantastic! I recommend the Excellent 11 and Essential 55 before your first year of teaching and the End of Molasses Classes anytime after your first semester! He inspires, encourages, and pushes you to be better!

    2. Thank you for the advice and specific titles to read. I will definitely be checking those books out! I'm hopeful that I will be able to teach in a school where I won't have to utilize students for grading, but will be keeping all of your rules in mind if I do. Thanks again!

    3. I agree about not having kids grade each others papers - so tempting but...probably not ideal, especially in middle school and junior high when they can be so hurtful to each other. Another option is to have them clear their desks completely except for their homework paper and then give them a colored pen to use to grade their own. Don't allow them to supply their own pen as they switch the ink barrels (true story!) so that what appears to be red is actually black. Allowing them to grade their own actually provides a learning opportunity and you can just skim the turned in papers.

    4. Edume-- I started doing that this year-- letting kids grade their own papers. Primarily on homework. I try to make their quizzes quick and easy grades!

  3. Just found your blog! I have read the Excellent 11 and Esssential 55. I narrowed them down and used them in my class this year. Cannot wait to read End of Molasses Classes! I like your Taking a Zero! I also love son is in 7th grade and when we went to the science fair, a friend of his said that he whipped his project out in 3 hours. How disappointing that my son worked for WEEKS on it and his friend belittles the whole thing by his thoughtless comment. Thank you for teaching your middle school students about this.

    1. Thank you for reading! Number 7 is my absolute favorite rule because it changes the attitude towards a classroom. Kids a lot of times don't understand how they are being perceived and it is always beneficial to tell them in a way that is productive!

  4. I cannot get the "taking a zero" document to print as a page - I get the whole blog. Can you please send it to me as an attachment or tell me what I am not doing? Thanks.