ato logo
Search Suggestion:

Topic 4 – Rules and responsibilities in the classroom

This primary school resource focuses on establishing strong foundations for learning about tax and super.

Last updated 27 February 2020

This primary school resource focuses on teaching values and actions to help establish strong foundations for learning about tax and super.


Tax talk

  • Rules protect my rights and those of others.
  • I have a responsibility to follow rules.

Learning intention

In this topic, students:

  1. explain how classroom rules help all students to be safe, happy and learn
  2. imagine and illustrate a classroom without rules
  3. make connections between rules and responsibilities
  4. demonstrate their understanding of responsibilities through performance.

Focus question

  • Why are rules and responsibilities important?



Some resources are available as both a PDF and as accessible text. If a resource does not have a text version and you need an accessible version, email us at

Topic 4 resources

Australian curriculum connections


  • English
  • HPE
  • The Arts

General capabilities

  • Literacy
  • Creative and Critical Thinking
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Ethical Understanding

Curriculum mapping

Return to:

Introduction – thought web

  1. Review what the class thinks about A world without sharing (PDF, 9.5MB)This link will download a file.
  2. Ask:      
    • Imagine a classroom without rules.
  3. Draw a Thought web on the board or on chart paper.
  4. Ask:      
    • What would a classroom without rules be like?
  5. Record student responses on the lines of the Thought web.
  6. Ask:      
    • How is this different to our classroom?
  7. Review class rules and discuss the purpose of each rule.
  8. Explain that class rules support every student to be safe, happy and learn.
  9. Students organise the class rules into the categories:      
    • Be safe
    • Be happy
    • Learn

Classroom rules – student illustrations

This activity may contribute to student portfolios.

  1. Select six class rules and put them on the board (choose rules that are easy for students to illustrate).
  2. Use a grouping strategy to organise students into groups of six.
  3. Allocate one rule to each member of each group (tip – use numbered heads together).
  4. Students write the rule they have been given on their paper and add illustrations of what happens when this rule is followed (Resource 1 – PDF, 59KBThis link will download a file). Students could use oil pastels, watercolours or craft pieces to create their artwork.
  5. Students share and discuss their illustrations with other members of the group.
  6. Discuss:      
    • How do we show respect in our classroom?
    • How do rules help us to do our best?
    • How do rules keep us safe?
    • How do rules keep us healthy?

A classroom without rules – sentence construction

This activity may contribute to student portfolios.

  1. Rule by rule, invite one member of the group who illustrated this rule to share and explain their illustrations with the class, including how it shows respect.
  2. For each rule, list words that describe what is happening.
  3. For each word, list the opposite. Write these on the board.
  4. Model how to write a sentence to describe ‘A classroom without rules’. Follow the sentence structure of the big book A world without sharing (PDF, 9.5MB)This link will download a file:
    How would I [verb] if you/I did not [class rule]?
    How would I [class rule] if I/you did not [noun]?


  • How would I learn if I did not follow directions?
  • How would I have a turn if you did not raise your hand?
  • How would I be heard if you did not listen?
  • How would I feel if you did not use kind words?
  • How would I be safe if you did not keep your hands to yourself?
  • How would I do my best if I did not keep on task?
  1. Students select the most appropriate sentence (or write their own) and add it to their illustration.
  2. Compile each group’s illustrations into a book.
  3. Each student reads aloud their group’s story.

Student responsibilities – word tennis

  1. In pairs, students spin to face each other and like a tennis match, rally at least five responsibilities they have in the classroom.
  2. Students share their responses.
  3. Record student responses on chart paper.

The do's and don'ts of responsibilities – T Chart

  1. Think-pair-share the do’s and don’ts of each responsibility listed on the chart paper.
  2. Record student responses and display as a reminder.

Responsibilities – drama sculpting

  1. Use a grouping strategy to organise students into pairs. Each student labels themselves A or B.
  2. Select a pair to demonstrate Drama sculpting. A is the sculptor and B is the clay.
  3. Call out a responsibility recorded on the T Chart.
  4. Explain how A (the sculptor) will use their voice to direct or sculpt B (the clay) into a position that demonstrates the 'Do of this class responsibility. Remind students that they must use clear instructions as they cannot touch their 'clay'.
  5. Select a second responsibility from the T-Chart for all pairs to sculpt.
  6. Partners switch roles, so B becomes sculptor and A becomes the clay.
  7. Call out a third responsibility and repeat as necessary until several responsibilities have been covered.

Reflection – sculpture gallery

  1. Invite A to reflect on their best 'sculpture' and re-sculpt B into position for a 'Sculpture Gallery'.
  2. Allow time for A (the sculptors) to direct B (the clay) into position.
  3. Ask 'B's (the clay) to freeze into position and 'A's (the sculptors) to roam around, observe and appreciate the work of their fellow sculptors.
  4. Take a photograph of each freeze frame.
  5. Once finished, gather 'A’s at the front of the gallery/room and choose one sculptor to explain their work and how it 'shows' responsibility.
  6. Prompt questions:      
    • What responsibility does your sculpture show?
    • How did you choose to show it?
    • What might your clay be thinking right now in this position?
    • What might you change next time after viewing other sculptures?
  7. Students switch roles and repeat the process.
  8. Take a photograph of each freeze frame.
  9. Provide each student with thought bubbles and the photograph of their freeze frame.
  10. Ask students to describe how their sculpture shows responsibility.
  11. Keep the annotated photographs for use in Topic 6.
  12. Invite stories of when students felt safe, happy and/or able to learn.

Continue to:

Return to: