Whole Brain Teaching Class Rules

Whole Brain Teaching: Classroom Rules

The Whole Brain Teaching rules is one of my favorite things to do with my kids. This is something they really get into and it really is effective. There are only 5 rules and they are so, sweet, and to the point.

The five rules are:

1. Follow directions quickly!

2. Raise your hand for permission to speak.

3. Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat.

4. Make smart choices.

5. Keep your dear teacher happy!

There are hand gestures that go with these as well. (You can see what the WBT website recommends here.) I will give you my suggestions but feel free to make this your own.

Rule 1: Have students circle their arms up so they holding one finger on each hand in the air to show rule number one as they say “Rule number 1”. Then, as they say the words, have them snap their fingers back to their laps quickly.

Rule 2: Have students circle arms up from their laps while showing two fingers on each hand and saying “Rule number 2”. Then have them raise both hands in the air as they say “Raise your hand for permission to speak.”

Rule 3: Have students circle arms up from their laps while showing three fingers on each hand and saying “Rule number 3”. Have them raise their arms while they say “Raise your hand”. Then, during the “permission to leave your seat part”, have them take two fingers on one hand as “legs” and walk them along the palm of the other hand.

Rule 4: Circle arms around from lap with four fingers on each hand while saying “Rule number 4”. Then, take the two pointer fingers on either hand and tap your temples while saying “Make smart choices.”

Rule 5: Circle arms around from lap with 5 fingers held up on each hand saying “Rule number 5”. This one I do exactly like WBT recommends. Hold up each thumb and index finger out like an “L” framing your face; bob your head back and forth with each word and smile really big!

I go over these about a thousand times during the first weeks of school. Every time there is a lull, right before we would leave the classroom for any reason, at the end of the day before they went home etc. This really reinforces the ideas and gestures for each rule.

In order to make it fun, I created a list of voices the kids could say the rules in. I wrote them on popsicle sticks and had a different student pick one out each time we said the rules. That got them smiling. Some of the voices I used were:
















I’m sure you could add to that! After the routines were established, if one of the rules was broken, all I had to say is “Rule number 2!” and the kids would instantly respond “Raise your hand for permission to speak!” with the gestures. Not only did it refocus the student(s) who were off task, it also kept me from singling out any one student.

Here is a video example of one room doing the rules:

I made some FREE Whole Brain Teaching Classroom Rules Posters (that’s a mouthful isn’t it?!?). Just click on the link or any of the pictures.

Do you use the WBT rules in your room?


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Meet the author
Cassie Tabrizi
Cassie Tabrizi
After being in elementary education for 14 years, and as founder of Create-Abilities, Cassie is passionate about helping fellow educators empower their teaching.
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