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In order to attempt to run a smoothly functioning classroom, there has to be some buy in from the students.  Teachers can easily become dictators-barking orders, and demanding compliance.  This is a perfect recipe for engendering shame and self doubt.  A better way to get a kid to comply with classroom expectations is to invite them to be a part of the conversation!

It turns out it can be quite fun and liberating to use a thinking out loud process to engage students in rule following! Along with the directive of try not to run in the classroom comes a lengthy yet uncomplicated, animated, and entertaining explanation of the dangers of disobeying that rule.  I make a big production of pointing out table edges, slippery surfaces, and tripping hazards that could easily lead to a bumped head, bruised body, pained tears, and concerned/angry parents.  I happily and theatrically mime out the terrible consequences of what could potentially go wrong, or the rationale behind why a rule exists.  The students are a captive and intrigued audience, often adding to the severity of the terrible outcome with their own quips and speculations!  Oftentimes they police each other, kidsplaining to their friends and peers about the perils of rule breaking. The rule-making process becomes completely transparent and even better, rules become fun to follow!

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