Establishing Classroom Norms PLUS

Part of my Beginning of the School Year routine is establishing classroom norms with my students.  I included this in my Top Ten Classroom Resources for 2014-2015 list and wrote about my experience in August of 2012 when I first attempted this strategy with freshmen.  One of my favorite educational resources has always been Edutopia, and Tuesday, they released an article by Todd Finley titled, “The Science Behind Classroom Norming,” that included the Why and several Hows to create classroom norms with your students.


After reading this article, I am going to be updating my approach to establishing classroom norms.

1.  I will be updating my definition of “norms” to include, “those that pertain to safety and health (no shoving), moral norms (help peers), and discretionary norms(clean your desk before leaving for the day).”

2.  Because I will be working with students I taught last year, I will be able to jump into the establishment of classroom norms sooner than the classes that I will be meeting for the first time.  I am intrigued by the T-Chart approach to addressing issues within the classroom:

Problem/Norm T-Chart
In previous semesters or during the last two weeks, what has interfered with your learning?
What reasonable norms could prevent that from occurring in this class?
1. When students laugh at kids who make a mistake, we are reluctant to participate in a class discussion. 1. Don’t make fun of mistakes. Class is a gloat-free zone.
2. 2.
3. 3.
4. 4.
5. 5.

3.  I’m a proponent for students assessing and analyzing their personality and learning styles, so I do plan on having them take the Kiersey Temperament Sorter assessment.

Exercise #1: What You Should Know about Us?

Purpose: Help learners accommodate classmates’ needs.

Before norming day, have students take the Kiersey Temperment Sorter, a personality assessment, and ask them to form groups with peers who have similar scores. Ask the groups to a) identify what their teammates have in common and b) decide what outside groups should know about them. You’ll need to ask the extroverts to talk quietly and the introverts to simply talk. Then ask the groups to report on their discussions.


Question: Have you ever utilized norms and/or norm establishment activities in your classroom?  If so, how did it go for you?

I’d love to hear from you!  Please leave your comments in the Comment space below.

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