Establishing classroom routines and norms during the first two weeks of school will optimize student learning and make your life millions of times easier. That said, what classroom routines should you teach? How should you teach them? Considering that our students haven’t had a completely normal school year in the last three, and a large percentage have NEVER had a typical situation, we should probably aim for teaching all the routines. Even the most obvious things that you would think any kid would take for granted cannot be ignored.
What Classroom Routines Should You Teach?
Let’s dive into this list. It may or may not be as exhaustive as it needs to be depending on your students’ needs.
Routines in the Room
- What is your morning routine for greeting students? How should they greet you? How should they expect you to greet them?
- What do students do when they enter the classroom? Will you have a list posted on the board every day of what to do when? How detailed is it? What do they unpack?
- What is your daily schedule? Where is it posted?
- Where do children put completed homework? What do they do for morning work? Do they turn it in or do you go over it together?
- What does your morning meeting or calendar routine look like? Do children take turns speaking, or do you have a specific sharing system in place?
- What do you expect students to be doing while you’re teaching small group? Are students allowed to get your attention during small group or not?
- Where are supplies located in your classroom? Are students allowed to access them or just you?
- How do kids get your attention throughout the day?
- How do you get your students’ attention?
- What do transitions look like?
- What supplies do kids need for each segment of your day?
- When do you prepare for dismissal? What do students need to do? Will you have a list of dismissal steps posted?
Respect for Self and Others
- What does “respect” look like as part of your regular classroom routine?
- How do you want kids to talk about themselves when they inevitably have trouble with something you’re teaching or fail? Are you teaching a growth mindset? What does that look like?
- How do children respectfully take part in whole group discussions?
- What are your expectations for small group discussions? Do children raise their hands to speak? Do you have another system in place?
- At what point during a conflict with another child do students need to ask for your help? How do you teach them to handle “big problems” and “small problems?” What qualifies as a big or small problem?
- What does respect for school property, school supplies, and classmates’ items look like?
School Wide Expectations for Moving About the Building
- When are bathroom breaks? Do kids verbally ask to go to the bathroom or do they use a signal?
- What are the school-wide bathroom rules?
- How do you get kids to line up? What do you expect your line of students to look like?
- What are your rules for the lunchroom? What are the procedures for the lunch line? What does good cafeteria behavior look like?
- How do you handle recess? What are the expectations for playground behavior?
- How do kids ask to go to the nurse? What if they need a tissue or bandage?
- What are the school-wide expectations for fire drills, tornado drills, or lock-downs?
- How do you get children’s attention in an emergency?
In reading back over this list, it looks quite overwhelming. It would seem that we could spend months trying to teach kids every single part of our classroom routines and never get to the curriculum. In reality, routines can be taught well during the first couple of weeks. When I observe in classrooms, it is so apparent which teachers have thoroughly worked on each of these items. While there are natural glitches and behaviors that occur even in the most well-managed classes, the ones with the solid routines in place run remarkably well. Students make growth, and the vibe in the space is relatively peaceful. Believe me, these items are worth your time. In the next post, we will talk about how to teach any of your classroom routines efficiently.
Before You Go
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