Let’s focus on the classroom procedures that we need to teach our students each and every year. Clearly, this is one of those situations where a stitch in time saves nine…so let’s get sewing:
Like the Boy Scouts – Be Prepared
Try to anticipate every situation that will come up regularly or semi-regularly in your classroom. Imagine a typical day and write down every procedure/routine you will need. Look around your classroom… Which areas in your room need a procedure (the sink, the supply cabinet, the stack of personal white boards, the homework tray, etc.)? Then, just to make sure you’ve got them all, download this free Procedure Checklist!
Be Consistent or Chaos Will Ensue
When students don’t know what to do, it’s frustrating for everyone involved. The teacher and the students who do know get annoyed. The students who don’t know feel stupid. Time is wasted. This is easily avoided by keeping your procedures and routines the same all year long. It will also make for better behavior for substitutes and may even pay off big time when the principal walks unexpectedly into your room.
No Robots or Zombies
Unless your students are robots programmed to do exactly the right thing, you are going to have to practice quite a bit. Set the bar high. Expect excellence. Don’t let them get away with doing it halfway. At the same time, you don’t want to drill-and-kill until your students are starting to look like pint-sized zombies. So if everyone is looking tired and annoyed, then perhaps it is time to table it until tomorrow.
Acknowledge Their Awesomeness
Remember to let your students know when they get it right. This can be as simple as saying thank you for getting right to work first thing in the morning, or it could involve a fair amount of praise for their ability to stand quietly line for 30 seconds. Do what works for you and your students, but try to keep it positive. Consider giving no-cost reward coupons (which are part of the giveaway) for a little extra motivation.
Procedures as Prompts
You might also want to use your classroom procedures as discussion or writing prompts for more reinforcement. For example, you could ask your students:
- What should you do if you finish all your work early?
- Where should you turn in your homework?
- What always needs to go in the top, right-hand corner of your paper?
- What should you do after you have eaten your lunch?
If you want them to respond in writing, make it a journal prompt or create a Classroom Procedure Center. You could even use these Classroom Procedure Task Cards!