Thursday, July 12, 2012

Class Handbook Freebie to Customize!

Newly Updated for 2013 - 2014

Do you create a class handbook each year? I don't mean a school handbook with district policies, school hours, and lunch prices. I mean your very own handbook for your classroom. I can't remember when I created my first handbook, but I've found it to be worth every sheet of paper from my meager paper allotment! In fact, I think class handbooks are so important that I'm going to share my own class handbook and cover with you to customize and make your own!

You might be wondering why you would want to create a class handbook when your school already has one. However, school handbooks only cover general topics and policies, but your class handbook will be personalized with the information that concerns your classroom and your students only. You'll find that it serves three useful purposes:
  • as an introduction for your students about your expectations
  • as your first form of written communication with their parents
  • as a reference for both students and parents throughout the year
I had very specific expectations for behavior and assignments in my classroom, and I felt that it was helpful for parents and students alike to see everything in writing. My students kept it at school for the first few days so we could review my guidelines, but then I asked them to take it home to get it signed. That way I could pull it out during parent conferences and show them where I had outlined a particular policy in writing from the beginning of the year. 

Putting together a class handbook can be a bit time-consuming at first, but it's worth the effort because it makes you think through every single policy in your classroom, from how you handle late homework to how you handle discipline problems. It also shows both students and parents just how much you care!

Some of the topics in my handbook include:
* a welcome letter to parents that includes my contact information
* a description of my expectations and policies in each subject area
* my homework policies including late or missing homework procedures
* a place for students to write the names of all their classmates
* lunch times and times for special classes like art, music, and PE
* parent volunteer policies

If you would like to get started developing your own class handbook, feel free to download the PDF version of the one shown above and browse through it for ideas. If you like it, you may also download the Word version and customize it. You can even download the cover shown here and customize it by adding your class name in the blue form field at the bottom of the page. You'll find all of those documents on the Seasonal Page on Teaching Resources during July and August. You can also download it from my TeachersPayTeachers store any time of the year. 

If you already have a class handbook, what topics do you cover? Please share your ideas because your comments may inspire others to add new categories to their own handbooks!

Laura Candler ~ Teaching Resources


  1. Laura, thank you so much for sharing this! I have always wanted to create a classroom handbook (ever since I fell in love with Harry Wong and his philosophies about teaching seven years ago during my first year). I have just never taken the time to do so. Now I can use your template, personalize it and voila, I'll have it for this coming school year. Thank you SO much! YOU ROCK!

    1. Thanks for letting me know! I was hoping that people would find it helpful to have something to start with, even if you change every single word in it!

  2. Laura, I am a huge fan of your work. I was in a teaching workshop and mentioned your name, and another teacher was like "oh my she is amazing!". I am creating my classroom handbook now, with your template! Thanks so much for your wisdom!

  3. I found this and, although I need to do some adaptations to fit my classroom & school, I love it! It gives me something to start with instead of creating my own. I also like that I won't have to answer the same questions 28 times next year for my students' parents (as opposed to the 13 this year).
    I love your resources & have used quite a few of them over this past year! I look forward to all the other freebies you put out!

    1. Thanks so much for leaving a comment for me. Of course I expect everyone will need to modify it for their own use, but hopefully it's a help just to have something to start with.

  4. I do something similar for my high school kids. Very useful when there are questions about policy.

  5. You have been a God send to me as we made the transition into common core this year. Thanks for all your wonderful freebies.
    Athena McFadden