1st Day of Class: High School Classroom Rules, Seating Charts, Etc.

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When my students arrive I let them initially sit anywhere they want (only for a few minutes). The first thing I do everyday in my class is post mission statements that outline and set the tone for what we are trying to accomplish that day.

High School Classroom Rules.

Focus your students with daily mission statements.

“Day 1 Mission Statements”

  • I will Learn the Classroom Rules
  • I will be assigned a book
  • I will be put in a seating chart
  • I will receive and go over my Syllabus for US History Class

Next I want them to get used to getting quiet and getting straight to work. The faster you get the students focused the easier it is to keep them that way. Usually this is a vocabulary assignment. Today it will be to copy my rules from a the smartboard into their notebooks.

I don’t give them a copy of the rules because; they won’t read them, they will probably lose them or throw them away, and that makes it too easy on the student. I make them write them, word-for-word, and treat it as their first graded notebook assignment.

Here are my High School Classroom Rules:

1. Be in the room when the bell rings.
2. Be prepared: book, notebook and something to write with.
3. Don’t complain, do your work.
4. Raise your hand before speaking or getting up.
5. Listen to others, do not talk over someone.
6. Never talk when the teacher is talking.
7. Keep your area / desk clean.
8. Don’t touch other people or their belongings.
9. Do the best you can every day.
10. For everything else: Do good, have integrity and show respect.

I usually put the rules in a document and display them on my smartboard. You could just as easily write them on a dry erase board for your students. After they copy them down, I read them out loud. Now they have seen them, written them and heard me say them. There can be no misunderstanding my expectations.

After the rules, I then pull up a slide that lists my consequences for violation of the rules.

High School Classroom Rules: Consequences

1. Warning
2. Warning + Zero for participation that day
3. Warning + Contact parent(s)
4. Write up + Contact parent + Report to Principal
5. Repeat #4 until behavior stops

High School Classroom Rules Consequences

You have to have Consequences for your Rules

I believe a teacher should take care of discipline in their own class. Positive relationships with the kids will take care of 95% of all classroom management problems.
A little discipline or a warning will take care of much of the rest.

However, we have very few additional options available to us today. If the student will not behave rationally, keep contacting the parent and the principal until something is done or the student is removed from your class.

Next, I establish a seating chart. I have all the students go to the front of my US History Classroom with all of their stuff. I then seat them in alphabetical order. This makes taking roll each day much easier and more efficient.

High School Classroom Rules Seating Chart

A good seating chart leads to good classroom management

*Note: Adjust this seating chart after the first week if you find students who are sitting next to each other are causing problems or talking to much. Splitting up talkers and Bff’s is an easy strategy to limit classroom disruptions.

After the kids are seated in their new desks, I start to hand out books. However, I always give the kids a small assignment to complete while I’m doing this. I usually give them a word search full of words from my rules and take it up as a grade. Here is a copy of my rules worksheet:

High School Classroom Rules Word Search Worksheet

This keeps them busy while I assign books and further reinforces my classroom rules.

Finally, after everyone has a book, I handout my US History Syllabus and read it to them. Sometimes I will mix it up and have each student read part of the syllabus. I want them to get used to participating and reading out loud in my class on Day 1.

After everything is done I assign my students their first homework assignment. They are to take everything I gave them home (rules, consequences, syllabus, even the word search) and have a parent or guardian sign each page with their name and cell phone number.

On Day 2, I check notebooks for the first time. As long as everything is done and signed (I spot check some of the cell phone numbers with our student gradebook software) the student will start the year with a 100% notebook grade.

This is also gives you an early clue of which kids are going to be difficult when it comes to assignments and homework.

What high school classroom rules do you use?

What does your 1st day of class look like?

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