August 19, 2013

Management Monday: Routines I Teach the First Weeks

Back to school today!  Today and tomorrow we have Institute Days, with the official back to school day for kids being Wednesday.  Tonight, though, is our Back to School Picnic and Meet the Teacher night.  Translation: This is going to be a long day.  Anyways, it's also my last post in my Management Monday summer series.  Let's be real, who can keep up with regular weekly posts once the school year starts?  Anyways, onto something I've been thinking a lot about this week--classroom routines!

We all know that routines are the lifeblood of any successfully running classroom.  I have written already this summer about some of the routines I teach, including Morning, Restroom, and End of the Day.  The thing is, though, that in order to have a successfully running classroom, you need a routine for almost EVERYTHING.  More importantly, they have to be routines that work well for you and for your students.   You may even have to adjust or completely revamp routines part way through the year if it becomes clear that they are not working as well for this group as they did for last year's group.  Instead of detailing every single other routine I have in place (because who has time for that???), here's a no-frills list of routines I make a special point to teach right off the bat!
  • Morning Routine: Waiting in a line outside the door until I am ready to shake their hand in the doorway, unpacking procedure, carpet gathering, and opening tradition (music)
  • Transitioning from carpet to desks
  • Distributing and using dry erase boards, markers, and felt erasers appropriately and efficiently (I like to explain what "efficiently" means early on in the year, and I use the word frequently when I am explaining expectations.)
  • Using the restroom: How to signal to the teacher to ask to go, pass procedures, and sign out
  • Pencil Sharpening: When it's okay, how to ask, what to do if a pencil breaks mid-lesson
  • Getting a drink: Again, how to signal, how to sign out, etc.
  • Transitioning between classrooms for math: Materials to bring, where to line up, when it's okay to go, how to walk to math
  • Guided Reading expectations, including transitions and what to bring to the table.  (Read my detailed post on this here)
  • Transition to lunch time: room is clean, chairs are pushed in, where to line up
  • Lunch time expected behaviors
  • Transition after lunch: I make the kiddos line up outside the classroom door until they hear our quiet music come on in the room, the signal that they may silently enter the room, hang up their coats, and join me in our afternoon yoga.  (This one may deserve its own post!  Maybe next week...)
  • Walking in a line in the hallway
  • Using shared materials, and how they should look once they're put away (ahem, dry erase marker caps ON please...)
  • Taking books from the classroom library: When this is allowed, how to check them out (I personally do not have kids sign out books), where to keep them (My rule is book boxes only, not in desks)
  • What is expected during classroom discussions, including Turn and Talk
  • What to say if you don't know or didn't hear the question
Phew!  That is a long list!  I'm sure there are many that I'm forgetting too! 

What other routines do you teach in your classroom?


  1. Amy:
    That is almost my exact same list!
    And it has motivated me to start working on getting my routines written down now since I am usually up late the night before school starts trying to remember which things I have forgotten!
    And YAY for teaching about "efficiently"!
    Good luck with your new year... and let me know when we are meeting to do some Modge Podge...

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  2. I would LOVE to read about your after lunch yoga sessions! I have wanted to incorporate yoga into my classroom for years, but haven't really found a great way to include it as a whole-group thing. I look forward to your post :)

    Mindful Rambles

  3. Ah my list is longer than yours I think! LOL I have simple things like blowing your nose on mine. It's at school but I'll have to compare it with yours! Maybe I can add some things. I make my students practice them all, too. Over and over! :)

  4. How to move a chair in the classroom, snack routine, passing folders/papers in, I'm sure there's more!
    Your list is pretty extensive.


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