I know it summer, but I go back to school in about 3 more weeks so my brain has already been thinking about all that goes into starting a new year. One of the single most important things you can do with your students is establish rules and routines. Never assume they already know them. I've learned that the hard way. Just pretend they all have amnesia when they come in. They need to hear your rules and your expectations. Every year and every teacher is different.
One of the ways I help my students to understand how important rules are is with a fun game. Now, this game is not your typical game. No directions or rules are given to the students. Okay, so know you are thinking I'm crazy right? Oh yeah...let's let the kids go crazy. Actually that is not at all what happens with this "No Rules" game. Keep in mind that the point of this game is to really bring home the fact that there NEEDS to be rules and there NEEDS to be expectations right at the start. Let me explain a little further...
This game is called “There’s Rules?”. It is a fun back to school game to reinforce the need for rules, directions, and teamwork. Below, I will explain a guideline for you to incorporate this game into your back to school routine. Please feel free to modify it to your own liking. Each year I play this game, it’s always a bit different because the students always react differently. That’s the fun part. I will not take full credit for the idea of this game. I worked with a great group of teachers that shared this with me years ago. I've only tweaked it a bit. :)
Here’s the scenario….
The kids should not know what you are doing when you play this game. You aren’t even going to give them a heads up that it’s about rules or that you aren’t going to give them any. That’s part of the lesson. Begin by telling the kids that you are going to put them in groups to play a dice game. Put the kids in groups and give them 2 dice. The kids will be eagerly waiting the directions. (There aren’t any.) You then tell them to begin playing. At this point they will give you strange looks like, “Huh? What? How?” You just smile and tell them again to begin playing.
You’ll notice that the groups begin rolling the dice and playing a game. What kind of game? Well, that’s up to them. It is so interesting to see because they begin coming up with rules and directions by themselves. Some groups will be going pretty well with everyone getting along while others are already begin disagreeing on what to do and how. You just smile and keep walking around. They’ll get so frustrated and want your input, but you just smile and tell them to keep playing. They look at you pretty strangely at this point. It’s great!
Just when they are really getting into their game, you go around and change their rules. They look at you like, “What?” You tell them, “That’s the rules. You didn’t know?”
Of course don’t let the class get to the point where they want to start throwing things at you. Ha! You’ll know when to stop them.
Eventually you say, “Stop.” They almost look relieved!