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Classroom routines and procedures
The best way to take full advantage and maximize your time in the classroom with your students is to set routines and procedures for them to follow on a daily basis. By implementing specific procedures you can set the standard for how students conduct themselves. By consistently enforcing these procedures over time you will develop a routine which students naturally adhere to. This can minimize the stress of teaching, create a more controlled environment and a better learning environment which benefits everyone. Every teacher wants a smooth-function classroom and routines and procedures in the classroom certainly help.
When you teach a routine and procedure in a precise and established way, students become aware of the teachers basic expectations and how they should handle themselves as an individual. Creating patterns and familiarity
How to implement your routines and procedures in the classroom?
Firstly you need to clearly explain to your students the method in which you wish to apply. You should be clear and concise but also it is important that the students understand why you expect them to do this as part of their routine. For example, if you are taking the register at the beginning of class, you will expect your children to be quiet so everyone can hear their names so they can respond properly.
This may seem simple but we really have to define what quiet means to the student. Some students may interpret quietness as not talking at all while others may understand it as talking in a quiet voice. It’s essential when introducing these rules that you check understanding frequently to ensure there is no confusion. You can do this by asking a basic set of questions or allow students to ask questions about the routine and expectations.
- Act out your expectations physically so the students can see first hand what they are required to do.
- Narrate each step clearly showing how to complete it correctly.
- Have practice runs – have everyone complete all the steps required in your routine from start to finish to reinforce understanding.
- Repeat until your students are comfortable.
- Review and adapt your routines and procedures – try to be as efficient as possible.
- Be realistic, know the capability of your class and adapt your routines to a realistic expectation.
Examples of classroom procedures and routines
Here are some basic examples of procedures and routines you can use in your classroom;
- Lining up routine
Lining up before class properly can dictate the mood and behavior of students. We recently came across an article called 15 genius lining-up strategies made by a website called weareteachers.com. – Here you can see some really great ideas such as visual representations of where the students should be standing, to creating a fun competition between two teams as to which can line up the nicest.
- Seating plan
As a former naughty student i can say with confidence seating plans work a treat. In my own classes kids who would usually cause problems when combined with other personalities become model students when placed correctly. Taking away the distraction of another student which they become disruptive with can allow students to fully focus on their work.
I have personally seen huge results by implementing this in my classroom. Distractions aside everyone knowing where they sit prevents arguments and constant changing of seats from lesson to lesson. A slightly controversial idea I’ve seen implemented is that you can choose your seat in the class as a reward for good behavior.
Team Satchel have a great article on how seating plans are effective.
- Taking the register
As a teacher when you are speaking to the class your students should be giving you their undivided attention. When taking the register your class should understand how to respond sensibly and conduct themselves in a quiet or silent manner in which you can clearly communicate. Depending on your preference explain your expectations and keep this consistent throughout all of your lessons. It’s important to set constantly right from the start.
Alternatively drive attention through making the register fun. World Class Teacher has an article about creative ways to take the register. Keeping children engaged and entertained will always yield the best results.
- Asking questions
When I first started out teaching I had 0 question systems in place and this created some pretty stressful situations. Kids would routinely just run to my desk and shove their work in my face or just simply shout out questions at me while I was talking to other children. Of course it’s incredibly important for students to be able to ask questions but it’s imperative that they understand that you cannot possibly answer everyone at the same time.
Reward patience and children that follow your guidelines with your attention. Other students will soon catch on that if they want your attention they are going to have to play by the rules. Again clearly explain your expectations of what is required to ask a question and when is an appropriate time to ask a question.
- Classroom Equipment
An area that sometimes goes overlooked in equipment in the classroom. If you’ve ever taught a kindergarten class you will know that having free-for-all on color pencils is definitely a no-go.
Simple essential rules such as how to hold a pair of scissors and not running with them fall under this category. It’s important that students understand their responsibilities of using communal resources not only is this an important lesson in the classroom but something they will take into adulthood too.
- Bathroom breaks
Students should understand that just standing up and walking out of the classroom without you knowing where they are going is unacceptable. Likewise if half of your class wanted to leave at the same time to all go to the toilet. The best procedure I’ve seen put in place for this is the “Bathroom pass”, with this you can be creative but the concept is always the same. Only one person can go to the toilet at each time and so they must possess the “Bathroom pass”. The bathroom pass can take any form you like, try to make it entertaining and creative for the best results. There are a couple of nice free templates you can get here
- Tidying up routine
I like to set a specific time frame for the tidying up phase of a class and this really depends on the type of activity we have been doing in the class. Just always be aware of the time you have remaining and the amount of tidying you have to do.
I think it’s important that students have a set standard of their workplace and what it’s expected to look like at the end of class. Useful tricks I’ve found include work trays in which all children hand their work in and assigning jobs to certain students each week such as collecting books.
Just like the start of the class you should end the class in a structured sensible way ensure everyone lines up in a similar fashion to the way you started the class. Experiment with ways to dismiss your students, ensure good behavior and adherence to rules is rewarded.
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