Teaching resources questions and answers from Betsy Weigle

Elementary Classroom Rules
and Procedures

Rotating responsibilities for classroom team building

A few jobs based on simple classroom rules and procedures allow your students to serve others, which increases community buy-in. But every child must get the chance to fulfill all positions to achieve the greatest impact.

Your Question

Teaching resources question

We use class monitors...should I rotate them to motivate students?

In our classroom, we have a few monitors assigned to help make sure things go smoothly and all classroom rules and procedures are followed. The monitors have been some of the better students up to now.

However, we've been wondering about making it a rotating thing in the hopes that having that responsibility might actually re-focus some of the students who aren't achieving as well. Any thoughts?

~ Carmine Solas, NM

Betsy's Answer

Teaching resources answer

Life together in a classroom community is a thing of shared responsibility.

No student wants to feel that they won't ever get to be in a position of responsibility. It is a simple issue of fairness...and children are highly attuned to what's fair and what's not fair.

A teacher definitely wants her elementary classroom rules and procedures to be fair or her whole community-building efforts will start to unravel. Think about it from the adult perspective:

  • If you never got to have the top-tier assignment, the one perceived to be "the best," how would that make you feel?

  • How would you feel about the leader who played favorites in this way?

If we use our school rules and procedures to reward only the "better students" we are missing a golden opportunity to create buy-in and inclusion for our academically- and behaviorally-challenged performers. And buying into our classroom community is the first critical step in improving their performance.

Betsy Weigle's teaching supplies

Insights and suggestions

Happy elementary school boy student with blue recycling bin He's thrilled to help
at school...just don't ask
him to do it at home!

I rotate my positions of responsibility weekly. Every student gets the opportunity to accept or decline the jobs. Students can also be relieved of their position if the responsibility is too much for them.

Now...your question is not entirely clear on what exactly the monitors are monitoring. If they are monitoring behavior rather than job completion...watch out.

Let's not set up any students to be social outcasts for tattling.

When it comes to classroom behavior management, students should be taking responsibility for their own actions. And if they aren't...it's the teacher who should notice and help them meet expectations, not another student.

In my classroom, students self-reflect twice a day on how well they met expectations. Sometimes they need polite reminders from me for honest assessment, but early in the year I model and we practice what those gentle reminders will sound and look like.

See the Classroom Management 101 page for some ideas on how to manage your room with care, equality and kindness.

Betsy Weigle

Elementary school girl student at chalkboard

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