photo courtesy of John Kannenberg on Flickr

This school year I’m not putting rules up in my computer lab. Sure, there will be lab procedures posted (walk to your seat silently, make sure your mouse and keyboard are neatly stowed), but there will be no list of rules.

Instead, each class (about 8 classes will be coming through the lab over the course of a week) will come up with a list of 5 can do’s. Students will have about 15 minutes to work in pairs and come up with a list of their own. Then, they will share out their lists, with teacher recording each list item. Then, students will vote on which ones their class wants to add the wall. Each class will have their ideas represented on papers with each of the can do’s written by a student or students in the class.

The concept is for students to think about the possibilities for the coming year, for the kinds of things we will be doing, as well as for norms for how we behave, interact and learn.

During the course of the year, I’m hoping it will be easy to redirect a student by either stating that whatever they’re doing is not on the Can Do wall or ask them if it is, thereby making it a reference point for classroom culture.

The wall may grow and change over the course of the year as we encounter new situations or conversations.

I’m not sure whether I’m completely insane and will regret this or whether it will make a positive change in my classroom.

Thanks to Sue Connelly for inspiring me to write a post about my endeavor and to Brad Campbell for the inspiration for the idea!


  1. Reply

    I love this idea. Tank you fof sharing. It is something that I might do with the teachers in my building as we kick off the new year! Like this positive approach!

  2. emlymom


    Interesting idea. I like how you are allowing all classes to contribute, then all group abide by the full list.

    Can you give a couple of examples of Can Do’s?

    Good luck! Would love to hear some followup on how it went/is going!

  3. Sue Connelly


    Glad that you added more to this and thanks so much for sharing. i love it! Sue

  4. Reply

    I, too, love your idea … Thanks for sending it to me personally, Sue. I just wrote Sue separately and told her that you have inspired my second lesson with students (the first will be introducing our Acceptable Use Policy via Voice Thread after students have created their Avatars using Clay Yourself! from …

    Anyway, I am now thinking of introducing Inspirations in my second lesson with students using your idea of mind mapping with Inspirations … “What does it look like in our lab/when we use technology in our classrooms?” … (e.g. branches for everything from appropriate behavior to what tools they will use and what they can learn using technology). I can then create one master version that encompasses those on which we all agree and then blow it up to poster size for a wall hanging. What do you think?

  5. Reply

    I’ve done this for the past couple of years. The students love it and most hold themselves more accountable to the rules that they wrote. I call it, “Bill of Rights” and once I’ve printed it on our poster printer I have each kid sign it, then I laminate it and hang it on all four walls. At the end of the year it becomes a take home prize…

  6. Meg King-Abraham


    I am a new K-6 Technology specialist in a school that has never had one. There were several outdated posters on the lab walls related to computer use; I threw them away and haven’t posted any replacements except for a poster of simple schoolwide expectations. So far I haven’t seen a need for any rules! I really like your idea!

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