Whether it’s lining up for recess, sharpening a pencil, or transitioning from one activity to the next, having classroom procedures and routines is extremely important. Routines save learning time and will make your job a lot easier. I believe it’s one of the best things you can do in the first few days back to school. Research and experience tell us that…
...it's more effective to build positive behaviors than to constantly correct negative ones.
Building positive behaviors start with teaching procedures and creating a strong routine. The biggest thing to remember when teaching classroom procedures and routines is that there are many benefits when students do them correctly and do them without your help:
1.) They promote independence: It seems counter-intuitive, but establishing and maintaining a consistent routine promotes independence. When students aren’t sure what’s allowed, where they should be, what they should be doing, or when to do something, they will ask you or a classmate. Students who are uncertain will look to you for certainty. That may come in the form of constant questions or behaviors that disrupt valuable instruction time. When students know the exact procedures and routines, there is no uncertainty. They know what’s expected. They know how to independently accomplish the activity without disrupting a teacher or classmate, and they will do it every time.
2.) They minimize behavior problems: Will well-defined procedures and routines eliminate all the behavior problems in the classroom? Absolutely not. However, they will help significantly. When you inform students exactly what to expect, what is expected of them, and what is acceptable behavior, they will be able to quickly accomplish day-to-day tasks. This helps create smoother transitions with little to no unstructured time and fewer opportunities for disruptions.
When expectations and procedures aren’t clear, you’ll likely have two problems: 1) students will disrupt you or classmates to figure out what to do, and 2) students will test the boundaries to figure out what is acceptable and not acceptable. All these disruptions waste valuable learning time. Perhaps the problem isn’t the student. If your expectations and procedures for instruction time, independent work, centers, silent reading time, etc. aren’t clear, it could be causing a big issue. If you find yourself reacting and disciplining often throughout these times of the day, take some time to be proactive and re-teach the procedures that your students are struggling with.
3.) They increase instruction time: When you get your class running like a well-oiled machine, it’s an amazing thing to see. You see students helping/correcting each other, working together, and doing things naturally without help and without being asked. With time and practice, your routine can and will become student-led. My substitute teachers would tell me that my students walked them through the morning routine, through each transition, and through the end of the day routine. When you aren’t directing traffic, answering questions, or correcting behavior, your instruction time will increase so that you can cover all the subjects and topics you need.
4.) They increase student learning time: Minimizing disruptions (e.g. talking, misbehavior, students out of their seats, visitors, phone calls, etc.) and other non-learning activities creates time for learning activities. Think about how much time is spent correcting behaviors, gaining student attention, transitioning, using bathrooms, lining up and walking in, leaving the classroom, going to lockers, etc. Any non-learning activity that causes disruptions or takes too long needs a clear and simple procedure. For me, it was lockers, transitions, and bathroom/water breaks. When I started teaching, my procedures weren’t as clear as they needed to be. Slowly, students pushed the boundaries on these activities, took advantage of the gray area in the rules, and used them to avoid instruction time. Think about these disruptions and formulate your classroom procedures and routines to address them. What works for others may not work for you.
How Do I Teach Classroom Procedures and Routines:
Now that we’ve established the benefits of teaching procedures and routines, you might ask:
- How do I do this?
- How do I get my students there?
- What’s the best way to teach them?
- When do I teach them?
- What makes a strong routine?
- What procedures are important?
Over the years, I’ve gotten these questions a lot. That’s why I’m really excited to share with you my Step-by-Step Guide to Teaching Classroom Procedures.
This resource really has everything you need to teach procedures and create a strong routine. I thought of everything that you might run into and included over 80 different procedures to teach in your classroom. Here are some of the things you’ll love about this guide:
1.) Detailed notes, suggestions, and ideas from my personal experience.
How do you want students to indicate that they need to use the restroom? Do you want students to raise their hands? Do you want hand signals? How do you manage homework assignment collection? How will you manage trips to the locker or your classroom library? For all 80+ procedures, I explain the procedure I established in my classroom and provide ideas, suggestions, and notes. Additionally, I share all of my best tips and tricks for classroom management.
For each procedure, I walk you through the entire thought process that went into that procedure and provide ideas for implementing it in your class. You can use the same procedure that I did, or you can modify it to best fit your classroom.
2.) A 5-step process to teach procedures and expectations:
During my teaching career, I had a lot of success teaching procedures using the following 5-step method:
1. Model the correct way
2. Model the incorrect way
3.) Have students model
4.) Practice as a class
Modeling the correct and incorrect way is memorable for students and helps demonstrate the procedure and expectations for their behavior. Simply telling students what you expect isn’t quite as impactful. Showing them is the key. Getting students to model, practice, and discuss it on their own also helps reinforce how you’d like them to perform the procedure.
3.) Step-by-step directions to eliminate all the guesswork
For every procedure, I break down each step for you and provide you specific instructions. For example, I walk you through exactly how to model the correct and incorrect way, provide specific examples, and give instructions on how to involve students to practice and discuss each procedure.
4.) Checklists for each procedure
The first week back can get busy. For each procedure, I also included a checklist to keep you on track.
The bottom line is that teaching procedures early and often is key to helping your classroom run smoothly. If you are finding that your classroom isn’t running the way you’d like or you’re correcting a lot of behaviors, think about which procedures are lacking and re-teach them throughout the year.
Check out the resource by click HERE or the button below.