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1 or 2 periods


Primary / Junior / Intermediate


Paper, pencils, sentence strips, chart paper, markers, tape


To establish norms as a group and to identify what matters to students as a group/classroom


  • Independently, students make a list of classroom expectations (e.g., trying new things, attentive listening, keeping the room clean, etc.). 


  • In pairs, each student shares their list and identifies ideas they find important. 
  • The pair selects their top four or five expectations and joins another pair. 
  • In small groups, repeat the process. 
  • The small groups select their top four or five expectations and write these clearly on sentence strips. 


  • Groups present their sentence strips. 
  • As a class, students select the top five or six most important norms.  
  • The selected norms are written on chart paper, so they are visible for everyone. 
  • To be done at the beginning of the school year or the start of a new group project.  
  • Ask students what classroom norms are important to them by using Wordle. 

Establishing explicit classroom norms of inclusion, respect for diversity, compassion, and collaboration will help create a classroom with a positive and safe emotional climate, in which students can effectively engage in learning (Brackett, Reyes, Rivers, Elbertson, & Salovey, 2011; Rivers, Brackett, Reyes, Elbertson, & Salovey, 2013). 

Brackett, M. A., Reyes, M. R., Rivers, S. E., Elbertson, N. A., & Salovey, P. (2011). Classroom emotional climate, teacher affiliation, student conduct. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 46(1), 27-36.  

Rivers, S. E., Brackett, M. A., Reyes, M. R., Elbertson, N. A., & Salovey, P. (2013). Improving the Social and Emotional Climate of Classrooms: A Clustered Randomized Controlled Trial Testing the RULER Approach. Prevention Science, 14(1), 77-87. doi:10.1007/s11121-012-0305-2