Middle school is an exciting class range as the students become more independent and thoughtful.

Even with their increased skills, it is still important to have rules that help manage the chaos. There are a lot of different strategies that teachers employ to keep their classes moving along without too many distractions. Many of the rules for your middle school classroom should follow these guidelines:

  • Rules should be broad-based and allow the children some latitude to make their own decisions
  • Rules need to be clear, even when they are flexible
  • Rather than a list of Don’ts, the rules should encourage productive behavior

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8 Classroom rules for middle schoolers

One of the most interesting things we have encountered is using hand signals when raising their hands. This is an effective non-verbal way to approve or deny their request with minimal distraction to the class.

Whether you integrate hand signals into your class or not, it is important to have a set of clearly defined rules, so your class understands your behavior expectations. Middle school is when you want your students to begin flexing their independence muscles and operating with less direction.

1. Take responsibility

Students should be encouraged, and then expected, to take responsibility for small tasks such as ensuring that their pencils are sharpened and that they have everything they need at the start of the day. There is no reason for a parade of students to interrupt class to take care of such things.

2. Be prepared

Like the rule above, middle schoolers must learn the importance of being prepared daily. This includes completing all homework, having the necessary supplies, and being focused and attentive during class. Preparation is a great way to teach your students about how extra effort at the start of the day or the beginning of a project can make the process go much more smoothly.

3. Co-grading and collaboration

One beneficial strategy is the idea of co-grading. Students trade with a partner and grade their papers as they review the correct answers. Be sure to allow time during the co-grading to discuss any questions or comments in real-time. This method has the bonus of lightening your grading load! Using this method for straightforward quizzes, such as vocabulary or multiple-choice tests, can help the children to feel more engaged with the overall learning process.

4. Hall pass procedure

There will be times when your students need to leave the class to use the restroom, for example. Make sure that there is a procedure in place for requesting hall passes. Encourage your students to use break time efficiently and work to curtail the repeated use of the passes.

5. Innovative rules in the classroom

Some middle school teachers have adopted hand signals to allow more non-verbal communication as they find it less disruptive. This interesting approach may not work equally well for all teachers. When students have signals for a question, they need to use the restroom or sharpen their pencils. The teacher can also respond in a non-verbal manner.

6. Don’t disrupt class when an aide or another faculty member enters the classroom

Middle school students still have a lot of exuberance that they aren’t always able to control. Instill in them the idea that calling out or jumping out of their desks is inappropriate when a favorite aide or another teacher enters the room. Prompt them by saying, “Let’s all say hello to Mr. Smith, class,” which allows them to show their affection in a much less disruptive manner.

7. Have a procedure for students that are feeling ill

We all know how convenient a trip to the nurse’s office can be for students looking for an unscheduled break from class! To circumvent “fake” illnesses, keep a supply of band-aids on hand and have a few in-class remedies for common ailments. Encourage your students to rest their eyes and put their heads on their desks to see if they feel better, or encourage them to take a few deep breaths.