Sick of Teaching the Rules? Make a Video!

During the first few weeks of school, one of the most important things you will do will be to teach the rules and routines of your classroom. If you’re like me, you might value the importance of this task, but hate actually doing it. I find that by the time I teach, “how to use the bathroom pass” for the 15th time, I’m about ready to pull out my hair.

Well, last year, I finally found the solution: homemade “how to” videos. Gathering students to make “how to” videos during the first few weeks of school will help you accomplish three important goals related to classroom management.

1. Students will be accountable for their actions

By having students act in the videos, they become immediately more accountable for their future actions. A sneaky trick is to choose students that have a history of NOT following the rules. Doing so not only gives these students a chance to practice important skills one-on-one with you, but also makes them think about being good role models.

2. All classes will get the same information

By default, when you show the same video to all your classes, all students will get the same information. There’s no chance that you’ll forget an important detail because all the details are pre-recorded!

3. You will make a set of valuable resources to use throughout the year

Let’s face it, for most students, learning about something once just isn’t enough. When it’s apparent you need a reminder about one of your rules or routines, just pull out a video for a quick refresher. Easy.

I had a lot of success making a video I titled “Paintbrush Boot Camp” last year. I chose five of my fourth graders to demonstrate the proper way to use and wash paintbrushes. The students involved absolutely loved making the video and the rest of the school was in fits of giggles watching it. The best part though? My brushes were treated so much better throughout the year. The lesson really stuck! Below are some fun screen shots of the video.






So tell us, have you ever used videos to help students learn rules and routines?

What other ways do you make learning the rules engaging for students?

What obstacles do you see to making videos? We’d love to answer any questions below!

Amanda Heyn

Amanda is the Senior Editor at AOE. She has a background in teaching elementary art and enjoys working to bring the best ideas from the world of art ed to the magazine each day. 


  • Sandra D

    This year, I (a music teacher) wrote a little song for the rules. It doesn’t cover EVERYTHING, but it’s a fun start. The kids will have the song stuck in their heads, and hopefully the rules will stay with them. I made a video of it so I could “show” my mom, but it’ll be even more awesome with the kids doing the hambone/clapping parts and singing the response. I have a feeling that I will be editing and adding to it as inspiration strikes, to include some of the conventions of my classroom as well.

  • Alecia Eggers

    I am so excited to start making some of these!

  • Delia Sullivan Lancaster

    There is a really great YouTube video Claymation of art room rules created by a 5th grade class in OHIO. It’s age appropriate for many grades (elementary and middle) and the students get a kick out of it!

  • I completely agree with you, repeating myself over and over again makes me want to pull out my hair. Not only would using videos be great to use when introducing topics but it would be nice to have on hand for re-teaching, just in case someone passes Paint Brush Bootcamp but end up needing to go through the training again if their skills were lacking. I loved the video, I wish I knew how to do that.

    • Thanks, Cassidy! You can use a lot of simple platforms to make videos. I used iMovie, which is a lot of dragging and dropping. But- you could also create the entire movie with no editing by just recording using an ipad or flipcam. Instead of putting in the red and green screens and voice overs, you could just film yourself or a student on camera. Maybe I’ll try to do a “how to make a video” video in the future!

  • crazy cat

    Since our marvelous Tech Dept. “updated” the District and went wireless everywhere while we were away, we no longer can view videos on YouTube, etc., as the server is too weak. A year after we finally got permission to view YT in the classroom. I spent my medical leave organizing videos for art history lessons, music – everything – for my four elementary schools and now I can not show them. Another Victory for the Tech Guys!

  • Pingback: How to Introduce your Classroom Management Plan | The Art of Ed()

  • Julie

    Hi there…I love the idea of making videos to explain simple instructions. Can someone recommend a good app/site to use to make the videos? Something that is user friendly as I can be a little tech challenged at the best of times.

    • Hi Julie, If you work on a Mac or can get access to one, iMovie is pretty user-friendly. You can easily upload a video and create title or text slides by dragging and dropping. iMovie is how I made the video featured in this post. Best of luck!

  • Michelle Bianco Ekross

    I clicked “here” to watch the video, but the video seems to be missing from the blog. Will it be back soon? I would love to see it.

    • Hi Michelle,

      I just tried it and it worked for me, so I’m not sure what the problem is. Perhaps try a different browser! Good luck!

  • Pingback: 4 Skills Art Students SHOULD Know but Often Don’t | The Art of Ed()

  • Victoria Pfeiffer

    Excellent article! Amanda, I’ve attempted to access your blog from multiple different articles on AOE and keep being told I’m not invited to the blog! I want to see all of your amazing resources, but can’t seem to get in. Can you assist? Thanks!

    • Hi Victoria!

      Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention. This article is from 4 years ago when I was still teaching in the classroom. I’ve been out of that position for some time and now work exclusively for The Art of Ed as the Senior Editor. I pulled my blog down a while ago since it was mainly for my previous students and their families. I’m so sorry! Thank you for the reminder that there are some links from AOE to that blog. I will need to update those articles to reflect the fact the blog is no longer active. I’m sorry again for the inconvenience!