Why do you need them?
Every classroom has rules. Good classrooms have the rules posted. Great classrooms actually use the rules all day long. The magic in the WBT rules, isn't so much the rules themselves as how they are used. These posters don't just become part of classroom decor, they are ingrained into every single lesson every day of the year. Using the strategy explained below, your students become the monitors of classroom discipline. They are put in charge of keeping the classroom orderly. The power is taken away from the few challenging students when the rest of the students rally behind the rules in support of your expectations.
How does it work?
Within the first week of school, all students learn the five rules, the gesture for each rule, and have ample practice in both following the rule and not following the rule. Students show what it looks like to take out and open their folder without following directions quickly, then they show what it looks like while following directions quickly. They practice what it looks like to raise their hand for permission to speak, and then practice what it looks like to not raise their hand for permission to speak.
Your class should be trained so that when you call out a rule number, they instantly respond with the rule.\
Here's an example. You're in the middle of a lesson, when Johnny is messing around with Tommy a few rows over. They aren't on task and are distracting others. Instead of moving over closer to them, giving them the "teacher look", or calling them out in class, you simply say, "Oooohhh, Rules 4!" The class should immediately call out, "Make smart choices!". If it didn't get their attention, give the class a frownie point on the scoreboard for not being fast enough, and call out the rule again. You can follow it with a simple, "There are two boys in that section over there that need to work a little bit harder at Rule 4 because they are also about to break Rule 5! I know they can do it though. As we were saying..." and then continue on with the lesson. Nine times out of 10 the problem will be solved.
A variation on this it to choose one rule that multiple students need to focus on, of course without telling the class who these student are. Then use a timer to see how long the entire class can go without breaking that rule.
Yet another variation is to choose one rule to focus on for the entire day, and only give scoreboard points for this specific rule.
When should you use it?
This rule call out can be used every day for any type of misbehavior. Never call out students directly, just call out the rule number and point in a general area. According to Coach B., one of the most common teaching mistakes is calling a kid out in class for bad behavior. You are basically telling that child that they are now the center of attention and asking for them to put on their best show. Use the rules cues to unite the class behind your leadership instead of the misbehaving student.
How can you use this strategy to build classroom leaders?
No matter your grade level, your students should rehears the rules every day. That means that even in a middle school classroom like mine, every class period starts with a rules rehearsal. Because every second is precious, you want these rehearsals to take around 30 seconds. Use class leaders to help make this happen. Choose a leader and have them come up in front of the class.IN an elementary class the leader says Rule 1 and the class repeats the rule. In a middle and secondary classroom, the leader chooses a style and pace for the rule and the class must match it.
For example, Ava comes in front of the class and chooses a moderate speed with a southern accent for rule 1. Using those characteristics, she says the rule number with rule and does the gesture. The class must try to keep exact pace with her style. If they are successful they get a point on the scoreboard. If they are not successful, you get a point.
Check out the Where to Start page for more resources on the 5 Rules.