I've been talking a bit about classroom management/discipline lately, and I've been thinking about rules for next year. I am tempted to go to just one rule: Be thoughtful of people and things in our room. However, my other rules are also pretty good. Especially this one: "Always try your best.... never, ever, ever give up!"
It is common for first graders to say "I can't" or "It's too hard." It is very frustrating for the teacher to try to motivate those kiddos in the middle of an activity. However, when you have a class motto, motivation becomes a little easier. At the beginning of the year, I introduce the motto with this poster:
Try Your Best
We discuss stamina from Daily 5, and how sometimes we can do things we never thought we could! The man holding up the barbell couldn't do it at first, but it tried his best, he didn't give up, and eventually he could do it! I ask them questions -- do we have to do it perfectly? Do we have to do it better than everyone else in the class? In the world? We just have to ... and students usually chime in "Try our best!" AND.... "NEVER, ever, ever give up!"
Throughout the year when I have the occasional whiney student (every class has one), students will rehearse the motto, and the students usually go ahead and give it their best shot! I have definitely found it a rule worth keeping! What are your classroom rules?