Setting Expectations in the Classroom

It is so important to set expectations for your students at the very beginning of the year.  If you want to learn how to start your year on the right foot with setting good expectations…then you are in the right place!  I have listed some ideas and activities below for you to think about for the new school year!

Why should I set expectations at the beginning of the year?

I can tell you from experience that it will make your year more fun and less stressful.  Students actually like having a routine and knowing how things should be done.  For example, if you want your students to have a smooth transition in the morning you need to have expectations and procedures in place.  It could be as simple as come in quietly, put your backpack in your locker, sit at your seat, and begin your morning work.  Make sure you have your students to practice the expectations that you establish them.  After practicing and modeling for them, they will be able to repeat daily.  At the beginning, they will mess up. Let’s face it.  It’s just a fact…but keep in mind that they are learning…it will take a while but it is so worth it!  


Which expectations should I teach?

Some of the obvious procedures include how to enter/leave the classroom, transitions, voice levels, lining up, turning in assignments, etc.  You should reflect on your previous year of teaching and thinking about what was hard for you.  For example, one year my students had trouble with knowing what to do when they needed supplies.  I made an area for supplies and taught expectations.  It was no longer a troublesome area for us.  As the year goes on, I would reflect each week about what your students are struggling with to do at your expectations.  Then you should think about and set those expectations for students.  You can even involve students in this process.  You could ask “What can we do to be quieter during transitions?”.  They can help you brainstorm ideas that will work for your class.  My last piece of advice is to just remember that you set the expectations that your class needs.  Your expectations may look completely different from your team.


How can I review expectations throughout the year?

Make sure to have students practice throughout the year.  You can continue to model and have other students model the expectations.  Make sure to review expectations when you come back from any school break or holiday.  When your students forget the expectations that you set, have them to do it again.  One of my favorite expectations was coming to the carpet quietly.  My students would forget randomly and I would have them go back to their desks and try again.  This really helps them to remember and prevent misbehaviors that could happen.


The following are starter lists of expectations that you should think about establishing for the following locations in your school building and classroom.

Setting Classroom Expectations

Entering the Classroom

Leaving the Classroom


Carpet Behavior

Desk Behavior

Morning Routine

Lining Up

Turning In Work


Setting Cafeteria Expectations

Noise Level

Going through the Line

Table Behavior

Lining Up in the Cafeteria


Setting Recess Expectations

Lining Up to Go Outside

Lining Up on the Playground

Playground Do’s and Don’t’s


Setting Restroom Expectations

Number of People to Enter

Amount of Paper Towels

Time for Running Water

How Much Soap to Get

Hallway Behavior


Setting Library Expectations

Noise Level

Number of Books to Get

Hallway Behavior

Getting Library Card


Want to learn more about how to teach some of these expectations….check out my Setting Expectations pack that includes 5 read alouds you can use to introduce these to your kiddos!  They are also editable and can be personalized to best meet the needs of your students.


If you have not already, sign up for the Flying into Learning Newsletter by clicking HERE!  You will immediately receive a freebie.  The freebie is a sort that you can do as a class to go over good versus bad behaviors in the classroom and school building.  Take a look below!!!


Thanks for Flying By!  Let me know how I can help with engaging resources to help your students SOAR!  Pin the image below for later!!!






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