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October 3. 2017

Teacher Tip: Create a List of Classroom Norms

Any time twenty-five or so people work together for hours every day in one room, they need agreements about how members of the group will work together so the time and space works well for everyone. Gather your students and have a talk about how they feel they can best learn and share what you need to offer your best teaching. Create a set of norms together for your classroom using either shared or interactive writing, as you discuss rationales.

You will want a simple list of these descriptive guidelines to which you can refer if needed. Post them on the wall where students can easily see them. Some general guidelines for norms include:

  • Encourage students to participate in constructing the list.
  • Don't make the list long--keep it short.
  • State the agreements in positive terms.
  • Norms should describe specific behaviors as much as possible.
  • Revisit the list during self-assessment.
  • Add items if problems arise and another is needed.

As students learn the procedures for routines, they are also learning and internalizing important descriptors for the kinds of behaviors that are required so that everyone can enjoy their work and learn.

From Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2017 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

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