Updated: Jun 27
The first week of school is the perfect time to introduce and establish classroom routines and procedures with your new class. Every teachers’ expectations and routines will be different depending on what age and stage they are teaching. The important thing is you find the right routines and procedures that work for you and your kids.
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In this blog post, I am going to talk about what a classroom routine is as well as why it is important to have them. I am also going to explain how you go about establishing classroom routines with your new class and some examples of where you may want to introduce routines or procedures.
What is a classroom routine?
A classroom routine is a rehearsed response to an instruction given by the teacher. Classroom routines and procedures are introduced to ensure that children know what is expected of them and allow them to do certain things on their own.
Why is it important to have classroom routines?
There are many reasons why it is important to establish classroom routines and procedures at the beginning of the school year. One of the main reasons you will want to introduce classroom routines is to create a secure and predictable learning environment. If your children know what to expect day to day in their classroom, they will feel safe and secure. This is especially important for children who are vulnerable or have additional support needs.
Introducing classroom routines reduces the possibility of student distractions and therefore low-level disruptions to learning. If well-rehearsed classroom routines are in place your children can spend more time focusing on their learning.
Having classroom routines and procedures also saves time and ensures you maximise learning time in your classroom.
How do you establish a classroom routine?
When introducing new classroom routines to your kids at the start of the school year make sure and introduce the most important routines first. This could be things such as entering/exiting the classroom, fire bell procedures, taking attendance, etc. After the most important procedures have been introduced you can then introduce other classroom routines as they come up throughout your first few days of school. This will help your children know when they are expected to follow these routines or procedures.
You can introduce new classroom routines by following these three steps.
When introducing any new classroom routines make sure and spend some time explaining the routine clearly. You (or ask a student) may want to model what the routine looks like to help your class remember what is expected.
After introducing new routines spend some time with your class rehearsing and practising these routines and procedures. Remember to praise your class when they are carrying out these routines correctly!
If your class hasn’t quite gotten the hang of a certain routine, for example, lining up for lunch quietly, don’t be afraid to ask your kids to practise the routine a few times in a row until they get it right.
Examples of classroom routines
Below is a list of potential classroom routines and procedures you may want to introduce to your class.
Entering/Exiting the Classroom
How will your kids enter the classroom? Will they line up at the door and wait to be greeted by you? Will they enter the class and sit on the carpet?
How will your class exit your classroom? Will they be sitting in seats and wait to be called to leave? Will they tuck their seats under the table and stand behind them? Where will they line up when ready to leave? In the classroom or in the hall?
Transitioning to and from the carpet
Think about how your children will move from the carpet to their seats and back again. Will they be expected to transition one by one, in groups or all at once? If your kids are moving all at once how will you ensure they do this calmly and quietly?
Gaining class’ attention
Gaining your class’ attention is a routine you will want to introduce very quickly so you are able to give them instructions from day one. There are many ways to do this. You could ask your children to listen out for a certain phrase or noise that they must stop and respond to such as a clapping pattern, spoken phrase or song. This is a procedure that is definitely worthwhile spending a lot of time practising, at least at the beginning of the school year.
Visiting the bathroom
How will your children ask to visit the bathroom? Do you want them to ask verbally, or will you come up with a non-verbal signal to reduce possible interruptions during learning? How many children are allowed to visit the bathroom at the same time? Also, consider how you will keep track of which children are at the bathroom when. This is important especially if an unplanned fire drill occurs!
Here are some other examples of classroom routines and procedures you may want to introduce in your classroom.
Handing in assignment/written tasks
Visiting school library
Using school gym halls
Beginning of day
End of day
Tidying up classroom
Using technology – laptops, iPad, computers
Distributing resources or supplies
Asking for help
Incomplete tasks or assignments
This is not an exhaustive list of routines you could introduce! There may be others that you feel will support you and your class in creating a secure and organised learning environment.