Forming the Foundation of Government in the Classroom, School, and Community
The Importance of Rules
- Index cards
- Board or card games
- Large drawing paper
- Crayons or markers
- Divide students into four or five groups. Give each group an unfamiliar game to play. However, do not give the students any instructions on how to play the game. You can tell them that there are no rules. After about 10–15 minutes, stop the game and declare a person from each group a winner. Have each group share with the class what happened and what problems they had. Ask what was fair and unfair about the games. Ask if it would have helped to know the rules of the games before beginning.
- Have students get into pairs and illustrate on a large piece of paper a scene of a classroom without rules. Have students share their drawings. Ask children why there are rules in the classroom. List appropriate responses on chart paper. Summarize by saying that rules protect people’s safety, people’s rights/property, and allow fairness. Discuss certain rights the children have in the classroom, such as the right to learn, the right to be included in the group, and the right to ask and answer questions. Tell children that rules generally protect people’s physical safety, people’s rights or property.
- Write down classroom rules or procedures on index cards (one per card). Pass out index cards to various students (one per student if you have enough). Have students categorize each rule/procedure under the following headings:
• Protects a person’s rights
• Protects a person’s safety
• Protects a person’s property
Have them explain why it belongs in that category and reasons why each rule/procedure should be followed.
- Briefly discuss who makes the classroom/school rules. How are they kept and enforced? How do other students learn to follow the rules? Do other students help to enforce the rules? How?