“Classroom management systems are the backbone of daily classroom life. They facilitate teaching and learning…. Routines don’t just make your life easier, they save valuable classroom time. And what’s most important, efficient routines make it easier for students to learn and achieve more.”— Learning to Teach…not just for beginners by Linda Shalaway

There are so many things that go on behind the scenes in classrooms and others that happen long before students even arrive. Teachers start planning for the next school year in July or August. They are getting ready with materials and copies. They are putting names on desks and putting up bulletin boards. One thing that you will definitely want to plan out and practice are your procedures and routines for your classroom. Every classroom has a culture. If you don’t set it for the efficiency and structure that you desire, the students will create the norm. I don’t know about you but the thought of six year olds, ten year olds, middle schoolers or even high school kids setting the tone of my classroom environment is terrifying. Is it fun to plan procedures? Not really. Is it possible to create the perfect classroom environment? Absolutely.

Writing effective teaching strategies for the first time was not easy. I had no idea what to write a procedure for. I now know the one simple solution to this problem: write procedures for absolutely anything that students will do in your classroom or their day. I always write concise step­by­step directions. This helps you to process what it will look like and will be ready to go to teach to the students.

Examples of classroom procedures:

  • Locker or coat hook in the morning
  • Entering the classroom
  • Turning in homework
  • Taking morning breakfast
  • What to do at their seat during breakfast or morning time
  • Hand signals
    • Bathroom
    • Water
    • Tissue
    • Pencil
    • Emergency
    • Question
  • Where to put materials
  • Transition between subjects (staying in the same room)
  • Transition between subjects (changing rooms)
  • Passing out papers
  • Passing in papers
  • Test and quiz times
  • Lining up
  • End of the day
  • Dismissal
  • Lunch
  • Recess
  • Missing Work
  • Centers or group work

I’m sure there are many more depending on your grade level, content area and school structure. For example, science classrooms need extra procedures than a math classroom. A kindergarten classroom will need more procedures stated simply, whereas a high school classroom won’t need to discuss nap time (even though that would be nice!).

Here is an example of a procedure for lining up:

  • 1. Stack and gather materials (either to take to the next class or to keep neat on their
  • 2. Stand up
  • 3. Push in chair
  • 4. Turn to the door
  • 5. Walk in a line to the end of the row and exit in row order

Notice that the steps are short, clear and observable. I can easily see if everyone stood up or pushed in their chair. I love lining up like this because they line up in a specific order, which means not by their friends if you have your seating chart done well! Double win!

Don’t think of these things as rules. Kids are resistant to rules typically. Think of them as the key to stability and efficiency in your classroom. Students love challenge, so use that to your advantage. They can line up in 30 seconds; can they do it quicker? Every second saved on procedures is time you can spend teaching and having them learn.

What procedures would you add to the list? What are some things you do to create a perfect classroom environment? Comment below!

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