DEEP DIVE / Class Culture

How can I create, uphold, and share responsibility for classroom norms?

< Teaching Channel Class Culture Deep Dive

In order for classrooms to run smoothly, we need to have clear expectations for how students should act. When you create classroom norms as a class community, students are more likely to buy into them. But it doesn’t stop with a list of norms — it’s important to help students create, uphold, and share responsibility for making sure the norms get followed.

Let’s explore how we can work together with students to create classrooms that run efficiently and effectively.


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Class Culture vs. Classroom Management

Classroom Management vs. Classroom Culture

Talking about norms often goes along with talking about classroom management. Strong classroom management is indeed a part of building positive classroom culture, but it’s not the only part. But what’s the difference between management and culture, anyway? Start by reading this post to find out.

If you’re looking for classroom management strategies, check out this collection of videos.


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Where Do I Begin?

In order for classrooms to run smoothly, we need to have clear expectations for how students should act. When you create classroom norms as a class community, students are more likely to buy into them. But it doesn’t stop with a list of norms — it’s important to help students create, uphold, and share responsibility for making sure the norms get followed.

Let’s explore how we can work together with students to create classrooms that run efficiently and effectively.


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Creating Class Norms

Creating Class Norms

There are lots of words for classroom norms, including agreements, expectations, and rules. No matter what you call them, it’s important for students to have a clear sense of what they’re expected to do in your classroom.

Watch this video to see how Jen Saul uses a class pledge in her classroom.


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Working Together to Uphold Norms

Once norms are created, students often expect the teacher to take charge of upholding them. But when norms are collaboratively generated, students feel more ownership over them. Encourage students to continue to take ownership by having clear agreements for working together. Check in on these agreements before, during, and after collaborative work. Ask students how they're working and make adjustments as necessary.

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The Four Tribes Agreement

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Group Contracts

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Watch how David Olio uses the Tribes approach to encourage collaboration and ownership in his classroom.

Watch the video >

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Then watch how students use group contracts to facilitate collaborative work in this video.

Watch the video >

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Learn to create a classroom that values community and self-control in Course 993: Shaping Responsible, Respectful Learners.


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Math Norms

Norms Aren’t Just for Students!

In this blog, read how creating norms is an essential part of teachers' collaborative learning.


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