• Dear Parents,
    A few years ago, I read a book by an outstanding teacher, Ron Clark, and I attended two of his extraordinary seminars.  He expressed many of the ideals and procedures that I think contribute to having a great classroom.  I "borrowed" his ideas and some wording to form my own "Essential Rules" for a successful classroom.  During the first week, we will go over my expectations for manners and behavior using these essential rules. Throughout the year, the students will be reminded of these "essential rules", and  we will practice them daily. 

    I hope that you will support us as we work toward building our classroom community of caring and respectful individuals.

    Ms. Adams 

    Essential Rules 
    (taken from The Essential 55 by Ron Clark, an award-winning educator) 


    1. When responding to any adult, you must answer by saying “Yes, ma’am” or “No, sir” ("Yes" or "No").  Just nodding your head or saying another form of yes or no is not acceptable. This sets the tone for the type of respect needed for the classroom.  It is also a very useful tool when dealing with adults who appreciate good manners. 


        2.   Make eye contact  when someone is speaking. This shows confidence and respect. 
    1. If someone in the class wins a game or does something well, we will congratulate that person.  This may happen after a good comment, a high test score, or an exceptional piece of writing or improvement on a paper.


    1. During discussions, respect other students' comments, opinions, and ideas.  We will never laugh or make fun of someone’s comments.  Everyone has something to contribute, and in order for our class to be the best it can be, we need to hear the opinions and ideas of everyone. 


    1. If you win or do well at something, do not brag.  If you lose, do not show anger.  Instead, say something like, “I really enjoyed the game, and I look forward to playing you again,” or “Good game,” or don’t say anything at all.  To show anger or sarcasm, such as “I wasn’t playing hard anyway.  You aren’t really that good,” shows weakness.  If you are good at something, others will recognize it.


    1. If you are asked a question in a conversation, you should ask a question in return.   If someone asks, “Did you have a nice weekend?” you should answer the question and then ask a question in return.  It is only polite to show others that you are just as interested in them as they are in you.


    1. Always say thank you when I give you something.  If you do not say it within three seconds after receiving the item, I will take it back.  There is no excuse for not showing appreciation.  Also, when you are given something from someone, never insult that person by making negative comments about the gift or by acting like it wasn’t appreciated.


    1. Surprise others by performing random acts of kindness.  Go out of your way to do something surprisingly kind and generous for someone at least once a month.


        9.   You only live today once, so don't waste it. Life is made up of special moments.


    1. When we read together in class, you must follow along.  If I call on you to read, you must know where we are and begin reading immediately.  We will all stay focused and be part of the lesson and discussion.


    1. Answer all written questions with a complete sentence.  For example, if the question asks, “What is the capital of North Carolina?” you should write “The capital of North Carolina is Raleigh.”  It is also important to use complete sentences when someone asks you a question.  If someone asks, “How are you?” instead of saying, “Fine,” you should say, “I’m doing fine, thank you.  How about yourself?”


    1. At times throughout the year, I will give rewards for good behavior, good grades, and other acts that deserve praise.  If you ever ask me for a reward, however, it will not be given.  It is rude to ask if you are getting something for good behavior.  You should be good and try your best because you are trying to better yourself, not because you are hoping for a reward.


    1. Homework will be turned in by every student, with all pages completed. Class and individual rewards will be given for being responsible with homework.  Incomplete homework will be done during a time when the rest of the class is doing something fun.


    1. When we are changing from one subject to another, the change will be swift, quiet, and orderly.  We should be able to turn from one book to another, with all materials, as quickly as possible.  This should take less than one minute and we will work towards a goal of 30 seconds.


    1. You will make every effort to be as organized as possible.


    1. While you are with a substitute teacher, you will obey the same rules that you follow when I am with you.


    1. We will follow certain classroom protocols.  We will be organized, efficient, and on task. In order to do this we will follow these rules:

    a)      Do not get out of your seat without permission.

    Exception: If you are sick, leave immediately.

    b)      Do not speak unless:

    ·         You raise your hand and I call on you.

    ·         I ask you a question and you are responding.

    ·         It is recess or lunch.

    ·         I instruct you otherwise (group work).


    1. You may bring a bottle of unfrozen water to have in the classroom.  Do not ask me if you can get water while I am teaching a lesson.


    1. Do not save seats in the lunchroom.  If someone wants to sit down, let him or her. 


    1. If I or any other teacher in the school is speaking to or disciplining a student, do not look at that student.  You wouldn’t want others looking at you if you were in trouble or being reprimanded, so don’t look at others in that situation.  If you are the student I am talking to, do not get angry or fuss at students who are looking at you.  Let me know and I will handle the situation.


    1. A few manners when dealing with food:
      1. When you sit down to eat, put a napkin in your lap.
      2. Never place your elbows on the table.
      3. Do not lick your fingers.  There is a napkin provided for the purpose of cleaning your fingers.  (There is no need to lick yourself clean.)
      4. Do not smack your lips and chew noisily.
      5. Do not chew with your mouth open.
      6. Do not talk with your mouth full.
      7. Do not slurp.
      8. Do not play with your food.
      9. You may use your hands to eat: pizza, bacon, cookies, bread, corn on the cob, hot dogs, hamburgers, sandwiches, french fries, chips, fried chicken, and small fruits.
      10. Never reach over someone’s plate.
      11. Never start eating off your tray until you are at your seat.


    1. After we eat, we will clean up after ourselves.  This includes cleaning off the tables and making sure we haven’t left any trash on the floor or around the eating area.  It is important to be responsible for your trash no matter where you are and to be sure not to litter.


    1. When we ride on a bus, we always sit facing forward.  We will never turn around and talk to other students, stick anything out of the windows, or get out of our seats.  When we exit the bus, we will always thank the bus driver and tell him to have a good day.


    1. When we go on field trips, we will meet different people.  When I introduce you to the people, make sure you remember their names.  Then, when we are leaving, make sure you thank them for all that they did, mentioning their names as you do so.


    1. Whenever you are offered food, whether it is a special class lunch or treats in class, never take more than your fair share.  You never want to be greedy and  try to get more than you should, not only because it is wasteful, but also because it is disrespectful, to others when you do not leave enough for them.


    1. Whether we are in school or on a field trip, if someone drops something, pick it up and hand it back to them.  Even if they are close to the object, it is only polite to make the gesture of bending down to retrieve the item.


    1. If you approach a door and someone is following you, hold the door. If the door opens by pulling, pull it open, stand to the side and allow the other person to pass through first, then you can walk through.  If the door opens by pushing, hold the door after you pass through.


    1. If someone bumps into you, even if it was not your fault, say “Excuse me.


    1. When we are on a field trip, there will be no talking as we enter a building.  We will enter the building so quietly that no one will even notice we are there.  This rule applies to entering any place where people are gathered, whether it is at school or on a field trip.


    1. During an assembly, do not speak and do not look around and try to get the attention of your friends in other classes.  We must uphold an image that shows we have our act together!
      31.   Accept that you are going to make mistakes. Learn from them and move on.


    1. When we return from a field trip, you will thank our chaperones.  You will thank them for taking the time to take you on the field trip and that you appreciate having the opportunity to go.


    1. When in line, walk single file, twelve inches (1 foot) behind the person in front of you with your arms at your sides.  You should face forward all times.  There will be absolutely no talking.


    1. Never cut line.  If someone cuts in front of you, do not say or do anything about it.  Let it happen, but let me know about it.  I will handle the situation.  If you fuss with someone who has cut in line, you could get in trouble as well.  It’s not worth it; just let me know what happened.  Come to me with any problems before you take matters into your own hands.


    1. If any child in this school is bothering you, let me know.  I am your teacher, and I am here to look after and protect you.  I am not going to let anyone in this school bully you or make you feel uncomfortable. In return, I ask that you do not take matters into your own hands; let me deal with the student.


    1. No matter what the circumstances, always be honest.  Even if you have done something wrong, it is best to admit it to me, because I will respect that, and often times I will forget any punishment because of your honesty.


    1. Be positive and enjoy life.  Some things aren’t worth getting upset over. Keep everything in perspective and focus on the good in your life.


    1. Be the best person you can be.  Always make sure there are seven things in your life at all times: laughter, family, adventure, good food, challenge, change, and the quest for knowledge.  With all of those things, you will grow, enjoy life, and become the type of person you can be proud of.  You will also be in a better position to help others, give advice, and learn from your mistakes, because you will be a stronger, healthier, happier person.