Routines and procedures in the classroom are so important! It’s what teachers typically teach during the first week of school. But what does that actually look like in the classroom?
Routine vs. Procedure
First, let’s talk about what’s the difference between a procedure and a routine. A procedure is a particular way of doing something. For example, you have a lunch choice procedure. Students move their magnetic number to their choice each day. A routine is a bunch of procedures completed in a particular order. This is something that is completed regularly. An example is a morning routine. Students come in, unpack, make their lunch choice, sharpen pencils, and begin their morning work.
Telling vs. Showing
Often teachers will make the mistake of going over the long list of routines and procedures and just expecting students to know what to do. Let’s use getting materials from a cubby as an example.
“This is how we will get supplies from our cubby. When I call your group, you will walk to get your supply box and then go sit back down.”
“This is how we will get supplies from our cubby. I’m going to show you exactly what to do. (sit at a child’s desk) When I call your group number (point to group table numbers), you will stand up and push in your chair (model standing and pushing in the chair). Then you will walk to your cubby (model walking to cubby) and get your supply box (model getting supply box without leaving cubby messy). You want to make sure you aren’t leaving your cubby a mess when getting something out. (talk through everything you expect). Then you’re going to walk back to your seat and wait for directions quietly. (model going to seat)
Then have all the students practice the procedure. While students are practicing that procedure, I am praising students who are doing it correctly. “I like the way Amara waited quietly for her group to be called.” “Thank you, Tyler for remembering to push in your chair.”
You will see more success by showing your students your routines and procedure and then praising students who do it correctly every time you do them.
During the first weeks of school or even after a long break, I will ask for a volunteer to show the class the correct procedures. This is a great way to make sure students are remembering the procedures but also reminds others of your expectations.
What procedures should you teach in the classroom?
- Entering the room
- Leaving the room
- Lining up
- Getting Water
- Attention Getters
- Voice Levels
- Quieting the Class
- Asking/answer questions
- Working (groups, partners, individual)
- How to get help
- What to do with work (finished/unfinished)
What routines should you teach in the classroom?
- Morning Routine
- Afternoon Routine
- Lunch Routine
- Class Jobs
- Morning Meeting
- Each Subject Block
Want even more ideas on teaching procedures and routines? Check out my free guidebook here.
Enjoy a well-run classroom!
Yes, teaching routines and procedures take a lot of work, but you will be so glad you spent the time in August/September showing students what you expect. Come October, your classroom routines should be smooth sailing!
If you’re looking for a great way to display your routines and procedures during the first week, check out my Editable Back to School Day PowerPoint! It keeps you and your students on track!