University of Exeter
Tools for Schools
Social ground rules

Social ground rules

Key Points

This activity is to support you to decide on and set ground rules for the class in terms of social interactions (to promote positive peer relationships for the toolkit students). If you already have a system for this, consider whether any of the suggestions could be added to what you already do

How is this tweaked for flex?

Social norms and rules can be hard to understand and remember- they may seem very abstract! This strategy should help to embed the reasons for these rules in the student's mind through acting out different social scenarios

  • Use the suggestions templates (and 2) to hone down to a selection of ‘ground rules’, and add your own
  • Put aside some time for the classroom activities and choose from the lesson and activity ideas
  • Introduce the idea of social ground rules in the class to your students using the lesson and activity ideas 
  • As a group, decide on a number of rules that you as a class will follow
  • If you have time, have small groups make a poster (see poster template) about the rule, and make a comic strip or a short play showing an example where the rule is being followed, and an example where it is not being followed, you could use the comic strip templates (46or 12-box options)
  • Have the students show the rest of the class their good example and bad example (ask them to identify which is the good one and which is the bad one) 
  • Put the posters somewhere prominent 
  • If you think a student is not complying, ask them to identify which of the ground rules they are not following, and what they could now do differently to show that they are following it
  • Use the prompt template to get ideas 
  • Praise the toolkit child specifically when you see them following a ground rule
  • Try and keep track of how many times you need to indicate the ground rules to your students weekly (using the prompt template
  • What problems are you having getting your students to adhere to the ground rules? Note them on the reflection template
  • Discuss these with your SENCo or colleagues to get some ideas as to how you can do it differently, do the rules need to be changed or re-worded for example, do you need to prompt students more often, or is it unclear to students how or why they should change their behaviour?