Classroom routines and procedures serve as the unseen gears that create a harmonious learning environment.
From the start of the school day until the end, the systems that make up these procedures and routines work together to provide structure, enhance productivity, and cultivate a sense of community among students.
That’s why it’s important to implement classroom routines and procedures no matter the age or subject you teach.
It can be overwhelming, however, when thinking about where to start.
This post outlines the most effective classroom procedures and routines that help teachers run their classrooms smoothly.
Doing so will make your classroom management goals a success plus the teaching and learning more effective.
Classroom Routines and Procedures
1. Assign Classroom Jobs.
Though the teacher is the manager of the classroom, her job becomes easier when every student lends a hand in keeping the classroom running smoothly.
This is done by assigning classroom jobs.
Not only does giving classroom jobs to students take some of the burdens of the teacher, but it also provides students with a sense of purpose plus builds community.
You may even want students to apply for a specific classroom job so that they stay interested and committed to the role.
2. Establish Bathroom Procedure.
Bathroom issues can quickly escalate if not given proper attention early in the school year.
So make sure students understand the expectations for bathroom use.
3. Decide Classroom Seating.
Determine the seating arrangement for students.
You might have assigned seats or allow them some freedom to choose their seats within guidelines.
4. Utilize Attention Getters.
When it’s time for students to transition to a new task or activity, use attention-getters.
Attention-getters are verbal or non-verbal cues that signal to students that they need to stop and pay attention to the instructions that are about to follow.
They reduce waste time and maximize learning time.
Attention-getters are an essential part of any good classroom management plan no matter what grade you teach.
5. Explain Early Finisher Activities.
There are always those students who finish their work quickly and then ask, “What do I do now?!”.
Avoid this scenario by implementing early finisher activities which are extension exercises that students work on after they have completed the day’s assignment.
This ensures that every minute in class is focused on learning.
If you need ideas for fast finishers, take a look at these early finisher activities.
6. Use Hand Signals.
Hand signals are effective because they grab someone’s attention with minimal noise and distraction.
There are a variety of hand signals for classroom use.
Two of the most common are signals for water and bathroom.
7. Practice Lining Up.
You definitely want to add this item to your checklist of classroom routines and procedures.
Whether going or coming from recess, the cafeteria, an assembly, or the library, lining up is a task students will perform frequently.
And it can quickly become chaotic if expectations are not properly established.
8. Create a Pencil System.
It’s essential to have a pencil system so that time is not wasted during instructional time stopping to assist a student who needs a sharpened pencil.
Whichever pencil policy you choose, make sure it works well for both you and your students.
9. Designate Area for Turning in Papers.
As a teacher, there are a lot of papers that come through your hands: homework, notes from home, office papers, forms, etc.
These papers can get mixed up very quickly.
That’s why it’s helpful to have designated areas in the classroom with boxes or trays where students can submit various types of paperwork.
10. Discuss Transitioning Between Tasks.
When moving from one activity to the next, there can be a bit of chaos.
To reduce distractions and disruptions, discuss with students how transitioning in the classroom should look and sound.
Keep in mind that attention-getters are an essential component to transitioning well.
11. Set Up an “Ask For Help” System.
When a teacher is working with a small group or an individual, she must remain aware of the students working independently.
While she may not be able to assist other students immediately, she does need to have in place a system where those students can access help.
One such method is called Ask 3 Before Me.
With this strategy, students have to ask up to three classmates for help before seeking the assistance of the teacher.
See the details of Ask 3 Before Me.
12. Give Arrival Expectations.
When students arrive to class, there can be moments of organized chaos before learners settle down into their bell work.
Be clear on your expectations…
- Where will students put supplies?
- Does homework need to be submitted upon arrival?
- Where do they place backpacks?
- Should students grab any particular materials or supplies before getting to work?
- Where do lunchboxes go?
13. Demonstrate Classroom Library System.
If you have a classroom library, model to students the appropriate way to check out a book.
Also, discuss caring for the books so that the texts are available long-term for everyone’s enjoyment.
14. Gather and Store Materials.
- Will students store supplies in cubbies, lockers, and/or their desks?
- Will they be expected to keep certain items in their desks at all times?
- Where will community materials be stored?
- Will students have permission to grab supplies whenever they need them, or will there be designated times to retrieve them?
15. Share Work Expectations.
To round out your checklist of classroom procedures and routines, share with students expectations for working independently and in groups.
Learners need to understand what each looks and sounds like.
16. Take Attendance.
Decide how you’ll take attendance, whether it’s through a paper sheet, an electronic system, or a designated student.
Also, discuss the protocol for handling tardy students.
This might involve recording tardies or implementing consequences for repeated tardiness.
17. Explain Bellwork.
Be ready the moment students walk through the door by having bell work, also known as bell ringers, ready.
Bell ringers are short activities that focus students and transition them into learning mode immediately upon arrival to class.
They maximize learning while reducing distractions and disruptions.
This time also allows the teacher to take attendance and complete other administrative tasks.
Here are some great bell ringers you can try.
18. Review Emergency Procedures.
Educate students on emergency procedures like fire drills, lockdowns, and evacuation plans.
19. Discuss Behavior Management.
Implement a system for managing student behavior, such as a warning system or a behavior chart.
The CHAMPS classroom management plan is a good option.
Final Thoughts On Classroom Routines and Procedures
As a teacher, you have a million things to think about when it comes to managing a classroom.
However, if you implement these essential classroom procedures and routines early in the school year, you’ll set yourself up for success.
They serve as your guide to a better experience with student behaviors.
Properly set into place, these guidelines offer all students the best possible learning environment.