Citizenship in Action
Ideas for Educators & Students
How do we teach students to be good citizens - helping to make school and community better, staying informed, obeying rules and laws, respecting authority, and protecting the environment. Here's an idea that one educator uses with her students.
Discussion & Positive Reinforcement of Classroom Rules
As a paraeducator, I teach in kindergarten classes with three teachers. At the beginning of school, we introduce the class rules and talk about what each rule means. For example, with the rule “Hands are for helping, not hurting,” we talk about how students can use their hands in a positive way, such as picking up something that someone has dropped, helping someone clean up centers, or helping someone find things in the classroom.
One strategy we use to reinforce the rules is recognizing and rewarding good behavior by verbally acknowledging it: "Kamiah remembered to close the door quietly. Good Job!" Some teachers also use posters with pictograms to reinforce the rules.
Here are some of our class rules:
- Raise your hand if you have something to say.
- Wait to be called on.
- Sit criss-cross on the floor with your hands in your lap (so that you don't disturb others).
- Take turns (wait for another person to finish with something before you start to use it).
- Hands are for helping, not hurting.
- Always pick up after yourself.
- Use quiet voices (also known as "indoor voices").
- No talking in line.
- If someone is "bothering" you, always tell a grownup first. To keep hurt feelings to a minimum.
- Always say please and thank you.
Most kids get it immediately—usually before November parent conferences.
—Maureen Dreibelbis, kindergarten paraeducator, Dover, Delaware