Tips for Teachers Teaching Classroom Rules (using the poster or cue cards)

Classroom Rules CardsThe cue cards and/or the rules poster are used to teach the classroom rules. As you teach each rule, show the picture and act out the image on the card as you explain and practice the expected behavior. The pairing of the visual picture, the verbal explanation, and the behavioral practice will help address multiple learning styles for the children.

For example, when teaching the “listening ears” rule, you may show the cue card and then ask the children to close their eyes and listen as you drop a penny, paper clip, or marble. Afterward, ask the children what they heard drop as they listened quietly.  Another exercise might be whispering a secret message (e.g., “my favorite ice cream is strawberry”) to the class and asking students who heard the message to raise a hand and repeat it. You might offer students an opportunity to whisper a message as well. Additionally, you may ask students to check their listening ears and turn up the volume on their ears so that they are ready to listen. Throughout these practice activities, students should be complimented for their listening ears. When teaching the “walking feet” rule, the teacher might have several students stand up and show what it looks like to use walking feet to go to a destination in the room. Alternatively, the whole class might take a trip down the hall using walking feet, with the walking feet card held up by the line leader as a visual reminder.

After the teacher has taught the meaning of each rule and students have become familiar with the pictures, the teacher can use the poster and cards in a variety of ways to practice, prompt, and reinforce the rules.

A Few Teaching Ideas:

The teacher may pick a “rule of the day” for the classroom to practice. The teacher may then post the rule and work to pay particular attention to praising students when they demonstrate the rule on that day. The class might earn a marble in a jar or a check on the board each time the rule is demonstrated. Once a certain number of marbles or checks is achieved, the class might earn a reward (e.g. extra free time, a sticker).

  1. If a student or group of students is breaking a classroom rule, the cue cards or poster may also be used as a nonverbal reminder of the expected behavior.
  2. The rules cards can also be used as a memory game. Lay 4 rules on the floor so they are visible to the children. Turn the cards over, mix them up, and take one away. Finally, turn the remaining cards right side up and ask the students which rule is missing.
  3. The rules cards can be used to play a “rules freeze game.” Children dance to music and when the music stops, the teacher holds up a rule card. The children should freeze and then demonstrate the rule that is shown.
  4. Once children have put the “show-me-five” behaviors together, they can be challenged to remember the five rules by performing random “show-me-five” checks during the day. When the teacher points to the “Show-Me-Five” rules poster, the class should all try to show five immediately. If the students are successful, they should be praised or given a small reward.