Classroom Procedure Tips and Resources

As every teacher knows, the start of the school year is the best time to teach classroom procedures. Read these classroom procedure tips and get free resources like a checklist and task cards for classroom procedures.


Fortunately, this can be avoided by making sure your students know exactly what to do at any point during the day, in any situation that might come up. That means that you need to have a procedure in place for EVERYTHING. Here are some ideas about how to accomplish this oh-so-important, and somewhat daunting, task:

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Plan Ahead: Make a List

Begin by making a list of every procedure you will need to put in place.
  • Consider your classroom – where things are located (pencil sharpener, extra paper, etc.)? How  are materials (art, science, centers, etc.) to be handled?
  • Consider your daily schedule – what do your students do every day (turn in homework, eat lunch, etc.)? What problems are likely to pop up (lost homework, not cleaning up from lunch, etc.)?
  • Consider your weekly schedule – what sorts of things do you do a few times a week or just once a week (library, spelling tests, etc.)?
  • Finally, consider those things that happen every so often (assemblies, guest speakers, fire drills, etc.).
Each and every one of them needs a procedure. Every teacher’s list will be different, but here is a general checklist to get you started (it’s free).
classroom procedure checklist for back to school - free
Once you have your list, make a plan for each and every item on it. In some cases, a plan may already be in place, such as for fire drills. In other cases, you will be deciding what your students should do. When making these decisions, KIS is the way to go (Keep It Simple). The easier and more intuitive your procedures are, the better.


Leave Time for Teaching 

Most of these procedures will pop up during the first week. Some of them you will want to teach ahead of time. For example, you don’t want to wait until someone has to use the restroom to explain that procedure. However, many you can teach as they come up. Just make sure you build in extra time to teach your students what they need to do.


Practice Makes Perfect – and You Should Settle for Nothing Less

For the most part,First Days of School classroom procedures are not all that hard to learn. Often they are similar from year to year, yet somehow students seem to forget them all after summer break. Of course, they aren’t really forgetting. Third graders know darn well how to walk through the halls quietly, but if the new teacher doesn’t require that they do just that, you can be sure they won’t. An important part of teaching new procedures is following through and requiring your students to get it right – every time.

The go-to expert on this very thing is Harry Wong, and if you haven’t read his book, The First Days of School, you really ought to.

Reward Positive Behaviors

When they get it right, be sure to let them know. It could be as simple as a smile, a “thumbs up,” or a few marbles dropped into the marble jar. Personally, I am a big fan of random reward, as it is highly effective and tends to keep everyone on their toes. Often it isn’t so much about the reward itself so much as letting your students know they got it right.

Teaching and reinforcing classroom procedures is not generally the most exciting way to spend your time – and it may seem like you are wasting valuable class time that could be spent digging into those Common Core Standards that are looming ahead. But it is totally worth it. Spend a little time now, and save a lot of time later. More importantly, by establishing your procedures early and firmly, you will create a safe, positive, and productive learning environment for yourself and your students.

Looking for a fun way to reinforce those procedures? Try this set of Classroom Procedure Task Cards. Each of the 39 cards features a different classroom procedure.

Task cards for teaching classroom procedures.


Got more to add? A favorite strategy or tip? Please comment!

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