Teaching Routines and Procedures in the Classroom 5 Things Teachers Should Think
The first few days of school are often filled with excitement and anxiety for both students and parents. As a teacher, you know that setting up your classroom with the right routines and procedures is essential for maximizing teaching time and minimizing discipline issues. But it’s not always easy to get your students engaged in routine activities throughout the year. This blog post will provide you with five practical ideas for establishing effective routines and procedures that create an organized environment, promote respectful student behavior, and foster learning success! So put away your lesson plan book for just a moment, take a deep breath, and begin thinking about how to make sure that everyone – including you – knows what is expected of students every day.
Think through WHAT you want students to do when teaching routines and procedures
Before teaching students about routines and procedures, think about what you want them to do. Do you want them to sit quietly during class? Are you looking for them to raise their hands when they have questions? What kind of behavior would you expect from them? Make sure you teach students about the rules before you ask them to follow them.
Brainstorm Your Classroom Routines and Procedures
If you’re looking to figure out what classroom procedures you’ll need in your classroom, start by brainstorming and listing them out. Here’s a simple approach to get started:
- Set a timer for 10 minutes.
- Sit down with a blank piece of paper and a pencil.
- Go through a typical day in your classroom and list all the things students do throughout the day. Broaden it to a week. List things that students do 1-2 times a week.
- After ten minutes, take a break, go for a walk, or do something else.
- Come back to your list and record anything else that comes to mind.
- Sit down for another couple of minutes and list the things that bother you about your classroom routines. Do students get up to use the pencil sharpener at inappropriate times? Do they raise their hand when you’re teaching a lesson to ask a question not related to the topic? What little things do you find annoying about your current classroom routines?
By following this process, you’ll be able to identify the routines and procedures and routines that work best for your classroom.
This post has 26 Classroom Routines and Procedures that you can use in your elementary classroom. After brainstorming your own list, click on over to see if you forgot anything or want to add to your list.
This post has ideas for End-of-the-Day Classroom routines and procedures to keep your students calm as they transition to go home.
Be explicit about HOW you want students to do what you want them to do
Students need to understand how to perform tasks correctly so they can complete assignments successfully. If you give them too much freedom, they will not learn the skills needed to succeed. Instead, you should provide clear instructions on how to complete an assignment.
Use these steps as a guide to help you establish classroom routines and procedures:
- Write down the task to explicitly name what it is that you want students to do.
- Explain why you want them to do it and how it is beneficial to them as a student and the classroom as a whole.
- Give students examples of how to do it.
- Give students examples of how NOT to do it.
- Have individuals and groups of students model how to do the task.
- Have students model how NOT to do the task.
- Then have students model how to do the task again. Always end on the right way to do the task.
Revisit the above procedure (see what I did there?) anytime you want to teach a new routine or reestablish an already taught routine.
Model correct and incorrect behavior
This is one of the easiest ways to teach students about routines and procedures. Model the procedure yourself. Ask questions to make sure everyone understands what you are doing.
- Have students practice the skill.
- Check to see if they did it correctly.
- Repeat until they get it right.
- Review the process again before moving on to the next task.
- Make sure they understand the reason behind each step
Why model incorrect behavior? Model incorrect behavior that you might expect students to do so you can call it out before it happens. Consider picking a student who is a little more challenging to model the incorrect behavior AND THEN have them model the correct behavior. This shows them (and you and the rest of the class) that they CAN make good choices. Gently remind them of their good choices as needed.
Elicit Input about Routines from Students
We would all agree that students need to learn how to follow directions. They should also learn why they need to follow these rules. As you teach the routines be sure to touch on why you are asking students to do it a certain way.
Some students may have ideas about alternative ways to do things. Consider if you want to entertain students’ suggestions ahead of time. Maybe for some classroom routines, you elicit suggestions from the class about the process used to get to the same end result. For other routines, you stick with your own predetermined process.
As you progress through the school year, consider releasing more responsibility to your students. Have them discuss and reword routines that are no longer working as well as they used to.
This is a great post on how to create student buy-in in the classroom. It includes ideas about having students join in on the conversation, creating student agreements, and more.
Think through clear, relevant consequences for individual students and for the whole group
As educators, it is important for us to think through clear, relevant consequences for our students’ actions. Not only does it hold them accountable for their behavior, but it also helps them understand the impact their actions have on the group as a whole. By setting boundaries and outlining the consequences for breaking them, we can create a safe and respectful learning environment for all students. Additionally, consequences can serve as a learning opportunity for individual students, allowing them to reflect on their actions and make better choices in the future. It’s a chance to build empathy and develop problem-solving skills that will serve them throughout their lives. Ultimately, our goal should be to guide our students towards responsible decision-making, while also fostering a positive and inclusive classroom community.
Think about how you will respond when students don’t follow the routines and procedures you have put in place. What will you do if it’s the first time or the tenth time? What if it’s an individual student? Or the whole class? By thinking through the consequences ahead of time, you will be able to easily and more calmly respond to students who step outside of the boundaries you have set.
Celebrate students’ success when following your classroom guidelines
When students follow the classroom procedures and routines that you have taught them so well, it is a reason to celebrate! Celebrating students’ success not only reinforces positive behavior but also creates a culture of encouragement and recognition. As a teacher, it’s important to find creative ways to celebrate your student’s achievements, such as a shout-out during class, a certificate of recognition, or even a small treat. Whatever method you choose, make sure to highlight the positive impact their behavior has on the class as a whole. When you celebrate your students, you are acknowledging their hard work and dedication, and creating an uplifting atmosphere that fosters continued success.
Are you looking for some classroom reward ideas that are great for individuals and the whole class? This post has 47+ different ideas you can use in your classroom tomorrow!
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