Rather than a set of RULES, I always established a class "charterâ€ of RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES with my students. We talked about why we should concern ourselves with how the classroom runs, the part they should play in how it runs and their equality with others in that.
The students always knew my expectations of them in making the classroom a safe, comfortable and welcome place.
Once the rights and responsibilities charters were established we would have elections for classroom government whereby every student had a chance to play a role in that on a daily basis and whereby they might choose to run for one of the eight positions available. Prime minister, deputy prime minister and two environment ministers are samples of the offices that the students campaigned for.
My classroom government model is loosely based on the system of Canadian government but is easily adaptable to any other form of government and adaptable as well to all grades 1 through 6.
Students take on and share responsibilities for their own behavior, they get to work under a set of rights and responsibilities into which they have had input as opposed to a list of rules they have been given.
Students get opportunities to voice and listen to others voicing opinions on many things in the run of every school day.
This classroom government model gives you as a teacher more time for one on one contact with certain students and you will spend less time doing mundane things like collecting money, making lists and solving tattle tail and hurt my feelings situations. Mind you I am not saying that hurt feelings are unimportant!
My classroom government model will inspire your students to be proactive in their school day and very often an interest in politics and/or human rights gets sparked because of it.
Once set up, classroom government will flow like water from a tap and especially since its adaptable to all "gradesâ€ 1-6 it will be something you can use any year with any "grade" or combination of "grades."
Give it a read and think about using it sometime this school year. I have NEVER seen it fail to make many kids say it was the highlight of their year and that they wished classroom government was a school wide initiative as I myself, always did.