Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Invest Now {Part 2: Establishing Classroom Expectations}

Establishing clear classroom expectations is so important, and laying that strong foundation will pay out throughout the school year.  Whatever you use for your classroom...rules, expectations, whatever you call them, I hope that you will find some of these ideas helpful.

In our classroom we don't have "rules," we have expectations.  These are the things that I expect because you are one of Wood's kids.  We do the same thing at home with our own children and it has worked great for our family.  I also like that instead of a list of negative things like, "Don't do this and don't do that," it's a list of behaviors that are expected and it pretty much covers the gamut of behaviors that could come up.

We call them "The 5 Ways to Be"

I begin by introducing them to the 5 Ways to Be during our very first Morning Meeting of the year.  {You can read more about Morning Meeting and why I think it is one of the most important things we do each day by clicking HERE.}

At that first Morning Meeting the first thing I tell them about The 5 Ways to Be is that we don't have classroom rules.  I love to see the confused looks on their faces when I say this!  I then talk to them about what expectations are and why they are important and give them a brief overview of The 5 Ways to Be.  

For the next 5 days, we go in depth with one of the 5 ways each morning.  For each of the expectations I do a few different things.  

My favorite thing and I think the MOST beneficial is the Looks Like/Sounds Like charts.  There are a few ways that you can do these and in the past I have done all 5 Ways to Be on the first day of school and using the carousel cooperative learning strategy.  Last year I decided to slow it down and focus on one a day.  I think it is important to take the time to really build an understanding of what each of these expectations really mean.

So, each morning at Morning Meeting we work together as a class to complete the Looks Like/Sounds Like chart. 

When we finish with each chart I laminate it and hang it on the wall for the year.  It is so powerful because it is their ideas!  These are the things that they came up with from a class discussion and so when they need a reminder it is so much more powerful to be able to say, "Remember, YOU told me that being respectful means that you aren't making faces at people when they are sharing an idea!"

I also like for my students to do some self reflecting and think of something that they can do or will work on for each of the 5 Ways to Be.

The last thing that I do is I leave out compliment cards as we learn each of the expectations.  I encourage students to keep an eye on their classmates and when they see them being respectful or safe...grab a compliment card and fill it out.  We often save these for the compliment part of Morning Meeting but you can have students leave them at their classmates desks or pass them out at pack up time.  I love to fill them out when I see a student really living up to our expectations too.  It's a great way to send a positive note home with students too!

Once we've learned all of our classroom expectations, we fill out this flip book.  It's a great tool for them to take home and be able to communicate to their parents what is expected of them at school.

If you would like to try using The 5 Ways to Be in your classroom, I've put everything together for you in this little pack.

Click HERE to check it out and grab it on sale today only!

It's also available in my Back to School Essentials can grab that's on sale also!

Whether you use The 5 Ways to Be or your own set of rules, I highly recommend trying Looks Like/Sounds Like charts!  I would love for you to comment and share some of your go to strategies for teaching your rules/expectations in your classroom.  Let's help each other to make an invest now, at the beginning of the year, that will pay out for the entire school year!


  1. I also have found out that morning meetings are the best way to start the day. I do a google slide presentation each morning of our 'rules and expectations'. I have a Teacher's Assistant each day who leads us through it. They love to do that! Then we do a few other community building things and then a song that we dance to! It makes each morning fun!

    Life As I Know It

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