Effective classroom teachers spend more of their time in the first few weeks of the year teaching classroom routines and procedures as opposed to academic content. Why? Because routines and procedures are the key to a well-managed, organized classroom.
Research shows that most behavior problems result from lack of classroom routines and procedures. Moreover, the number of interruptions to academic instruction are reduced and the class flows more smoothly.
Points to remember:
- Have a copy of your routines and procedures to hand to each of your students on the first day of school. (Keep extra copies on hand for new students who arrive later in the year.)
- Do not simply hand out the list, go over it once, and expect the students to comply.
- Teach the most important, key procedures over a period of days, one or two at a time.
Explain the rationale behind the routine or procedure.
Model the routine or procedure for the students.
Give the students non-examples of compliance.
Have the students (or one student) model the procedure.
- Teach the less important routines and procedure by simply stating the routine or procedure, monitoring it, and reinforcing it when necessary.
- Be consistent . Don't give up after a few days. The time spent teaching, monitoring and reinforcing routines and procedures during the first three weeks of school will pay tremendous dividends. If the routines and procedures are established at the beginning of the year, the entire rest of the year will be more enjoyable and productive for both you and your students.
What follows is a list of routines and procedures. Every good classroom manager will have thought about each of these before the beginning of the year. (However, it's never too late to start!) Modify the list to suit your needs.
Classroom Routines and Procedures
- Entering the classroom
- Beginning work
- Roll Call/Lunch Count
- Absences/Make-up procedures
- Teacher's attention signal
- Getting out of your seat
- Getting supplies
- Sharpening pencils
- Procedures for using/carrying/handling equipment
- Getting into groups
- Working in groups
- Independent work
- Working at a center
- Lining up to leave the room
- Going to the clinic, office, media center or elsewhere
- How to head papers
- Passing in homework
- Passing in papers
- Exchanging papers
- Asking questions
- Getting help
- Finishing work early
- Visitors to the room
- Responding to fire drills, "codes", or other alerts
- Sudden illness
- Checking out classroom material
- Cleaning the room at the end of the day
- Organizing materials
- Changing classes
Would you like to see this list in action? Go here to see my student handout. You will notice that the I do not include everything on the list. Rather, I have modified it to suit my particular situation.