Topic Progress:

Clarifying specific expected behaviors and rules for the classroom is essential, and the same behaviors and rules that reduce classroom disruptions are clearly associated with increased student learning.

The need for clear and consistent classroom rules is evident:

  • Expectations are often not clear or agreed upon by all.
  • Students spend the majority of their day in the classroom.
  • Clearly established classroom expectations and rules consistently enforced prevent problem behaviors from occurring, increasing instructional time.
  • Clearly established classroom expectations and rules provide language for teaching and feedback for students, staff and parents.

Do classrooms have a matrix with expected behaviors posted?

Is the matrix with expected classroom behaviors consistent with the schoolwide expectations (ex. respectful, responsible, safe)?

A classroom matrix describes the expectations for successful learning in all classroom activities.  The rules describe how to demonstrate successful learning behavior.

The following sample matrix describes the expectations and rules in a middle school classroom.

During Transitions Whole Group Instruction Small Group Instruction Independent Work When You Need Something
Be Respectful
  • Use an indoor voice
  • Help others when needed
  • Follow teacher directions
  • Actively listen to the teacher
  • Quietly raise your hand to ask a question or contribute
  • Actively listen to your group members
  • Use positive language in conversations
  • Work quietly
  • Do your own work
  • Raise your hand if you need help
  • Follow technology instructions
  • Quietly take care of business
  • Raise your hand if you need teacher assistance
Be Responsible
  • Have necessary materials
  • Move efficiently between locations
  • Take notes as needed
  • Take out only necessary materials
  • Ask if you need clarification on content or instructions
  • Actively contribute to the group discussion and assignment
  • Do your share of the work
  • Keep track of follow-up work to complete
  • Include your name on your work
  • Do your best work
  • As for help if needed
  • Try to take care of needs during transition times
  • Follow the procedures for leaving the classroom
Be Safe
  • Walk
  • Keep your body and materials to yourself
  • Keep area clean (chairs in, jackets and bags put away)
  • When sitting in chairs, all legs on the floor
  • Keep your body and materials to yourself
  • Remain with your group in designated location
  • Use materials as instructed
  • Remain calm and use kind language in case of disagreement
  • When sitting in chairs, all legs on the floor
  • Keep your body and materials to yourself
  • Use materials as instructed
  • Move efficiently between locations
  • Alert the teacher to anything unsafe

Adapted from Simonsen & Myers, 2015