Over the next week or so, I’ll be posting some basic tips for getting your new school year off to a great start. We’ll get this party started with talking about procedures.
A colleague of mine once told me the first two weeks of school in my classroom was like attending bootcamp. I drilled my class on the proper procedures on everything from entering the classroom to throwing away garbage. There was a procedure for clean-up and a very specific procedure for morning meeting. However, after these first few intense weeks of learning routine, my classroom was a well-oiled machine. My substitute teacher plans did not have to be so detailed because even my 4 year old students could run the day on their own. It was only content and thematic elements that the sub needed to plug in. The First Days of School by Harry Wong, a text revered by many teachers, extols the glories of well-thought out procedures as does many other great texts on classroom management.
For those of you who aren’t a drill sergeant or a severe type-A control freak naturally graced by the ability to carefully plan every anticipated outcome and construct a seamless flow of behaviors, here’s a quick series of questions you can ask yourself to establish effective procedures in your classroom.
- What day-to-do routine behaviors are carried out in my classroom?
- What is the ideal outcome of each behavior?
- What are the particular steps to achieve this outcome?
- What do I need to do to prepare or have available?
- What are the specific expectations of the students?
Once you have determined what procedures you want to put in place, take the time to thoroughly explain the expectations to your students. Model the proper procedure, and don’t forget to give the students a practice run! Repeat the expectations aloud as they are practicing. The more they hear, see, and do, the sooner it will become second nature. In time, your classroom will be more efficient and your students will be more responsible as they master procedures and meet expectations.
Recommended books which address setting up procedures:
- The First Days of School by: Harry Wong
- Tools for Teaching by: Fred Jones
- Skills Streaming Series by: Ellen McGinnis and Arnold P. Goldstein
- What Great Teachers Do Differently: 14 Things That Matter Most by: Todd Whitaker