Are Rules Needed?
As I mentioned in my last post,(What is your theme?) I will be rethinking rules in my class this year. Currently my school uses citizen traits as the “rules.” They include honesty, outstanding behavior, understanding heart, neat and organized, demonstrate responsibility and show respect. What I really like about them is that they are expectations instead of demands such as “no hitting.” I recently listened to Lisa Murphy ( aka Ooey Gooey Lady) speak at the “I Teach K Conference” about rules in the class. One of things she said that really hit home for me was we need to stop trying to control the child and focus on controlling the environment. Thinking about this I realized that most rules are geared toward controlling the child, especially those with the words “no” or “don’t”. Another point she brought up was loopholes. The more rules we have the more opportunity we give the kids to find them. Lisa mentioned the “we don’t hit friends” rule and the child saying “but he isn’t my friend.” We all know how often kids find ways around the rules. It is important to note that the lack of rules does not mean the kids get to do whatever they want and the class is in complete chaos. I am just going to avoid using the rules to control my class. A great example is the image above. I did not have a rule about standing on chairs and this particular group of kids really never needed a rule. They learned a lot building these tall structures while standing on chairs. They were careful and able to control themselves. Self control is something that kids need to practice to be able to develop. So this year I am going to support my kids instead of controlling them. I will build relationships and work more to control the environment so we can all be happy and successful.
The only rule I know I am going to have this year is “Be Brave.” I stole this from my twitter friend @happycampergirl. I love everything those simple words stand for and it became a big part of our classroom last year. I would love to hear about your rules or lack of rules.