Creating the Classroom Culture

The beginning of the year is both exciting and exhausting all at the same time. I always describe the beginning of the school year to my non-teaching friends like this: imagine being given 24+ puppies one year and spend all your time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears into training them and molding them to be the best little puppies they can be during that year you had them. Then turn around and receive 24+ new puppies the following year and start all over again. That’s kind of like the first few months of the school year when trying to establish rules and routines in the classroom.

Today I am excited to share some of the beginning of the year activities and resources I use to introduce my classroom to my new kiddos. I incorporate a lot of fun read alouds, activities, and engagement to model to my students the expectations I have for the year. I’m always surprised as to how quickly my kids pick it up!


Launching Routines & Rules
This packet has everything you need for the first week of school and getting your rules and routines established. Of course, it takes longer than a week to practice and revisit your rules, but this resource allows you to introduce your students to the framework of your expectations through reading and discussion using some of my favorite books. 

Engage students by handing them the GOOD CHOICE, POOR CHOICE banners and throughout your reading have students participate by deciding whether or not the character made a good or poor choice and how that incorporates to how they should treat each other in the classroom.

I love developing the rules together through a classroom contract that every student gets a copy of. After reading, discuss the main four rules and have students draw a picture and write their understanding of that rule in their student workbook also provided in this packet. Once finished students may keep them somewhere visible in the room or take home. Also, laminate and hang the classroom rule posters somewhere in the classroom where students can be reminded of the rules they created together as a classroom community.

Take a peek...

Discuss with students how organization leads to preparedness and a readiness to learn. This skill is often overlooked and this packet helps students realize that keeping a clean workspace is important and is expected. After all most report cards include this skill each quarter. Why not teach them about it?


After a main lesson and read aloud, students are to discuss and fill out each page of their workbook that highlights the rule being introduced. This is an example of rule #1 which is to make good choices. Good choices come in all forms and it’s fun to see how students come up with different ways in which good choices can be made!



Acknowledging Awesome Behavior
Too often we are guilty of recognizing problem behavior and having to nip it in the bud, but sometimes it’s the positive behavior that can slip through the cracks. Students, even the ‘problem’ kids, want to be recognized and sometimes the easiest way to do that is through acknowledging the positive behavior being represented in the classroom. 

These Positive Behavior Notes are quick ways to inform students and their parents of positive behavior, especially on those days when it seems there were a full moon the previous night. Simply jot down a quick behavior you noticed and give them to students to take home. Every year these are a hit with parents since it’s so often parents are only contacted for poor behavior.

Interested in a BUNDLE of all of my favorite, and most popular, behavior management tools?


How do you begin the school year and establishing those classroom rules and routines?
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Thinking About Behavior Management

Establishing a good behavior management plan is vital to a successful year regardless of how long you’ve been teaching. It’s taken me a few years to figure out what works best for me and always having to keep in mind that this plan may change from year to year based on the kiddos I receive. 

One aspect to my plan that never changes and works with almost every child is a Think Sheet. A think sheet is a simple form that students fill out that describe, in their words, what happened and explain how they’ll change their behavior next time. It gives them responsibility over their words or actions, forces them to be accountable for their behavior, and cuts down on time taken away from teachers during the day. Also, it’s a super easy way to keep parents in the loop as to what’s happened at school and how it was handled.

Because how many times have parents asked their child about ‘what happened’ and they’re response every time is: ‘I don’t know.' No longer with these Think Sheets!

One of my most popular product since the beginning of this blog has been my Behavior Management: Think Sheets. I was inspired a number of years ago when I was teaching at a before and after school program out of my church who used a similar method. This think sheet process works for many reasons:
  1. gives the child time to calm down and reflect on their behavior
  2. the teacher facilitates the discussion and help bring the child to understanding why their behavior was wrong
  3. places responsibility and accountability back on the child by having them think and write out exactly what happened and caused the behavior
  4. note is signed by the teacher, student, AND parent....then returned to school to be kept on file by the teacher

These forms have been extremely helpful in my classroom and I’ve found that parents love them too! It’s the perfect tool for students to talk about their feelings and subsequent actions because it’s written by them and checked by the teacher before going home. Parents are able to see how the child reflects on their behavior and notice if they understand what they did was wrong or not, a common problem with just a talking-to. It’s amazing to see the difference when students actually understand and can communicate what they did and how to improve next time. Most importantly, students learn that mistakes are made but that one can learn from them and always be given a second, third, fourth....chance.


This bundle differs from my previous Think Sheet because it includes forms that are appropriate for K-6th grade! It’s perfect for those teachers switching grades or for differentiation within your own classroom. We all know children mature at different ages and grades and their Think Sheets should reflect this, even with discipline.