How To Develop Routines That Work in Your Classroom
Have you ever wondered why some classes always seem to know what to do and how to do it and everything seems to run like clockwork?
Is it because the kids are just better at organising themselves or is it something else?
What it usually means is that the teacher has invested time and energy into teaching the students the routines that they need to follow. This means that the teacher has decided on the behaviour they want to see in the classroom and designed processes that will work for the particular class.
Here is a good way to think through how to develop routines that work for you and your students.
1. Decide what is important to you in the classroom. This could be done in collaboration with the students to give them ownership of the expectations.
2. Consider the following:
- How will students ask to go to the bathroom?
- How will they enter the room?
- How will they ask for help?
- What will they do when they finish work?
- How will the marking process occur?
- How will they pack up equipment at the end of the lesson/day
- How will students comment –do you use hands up or will you use cold calling techniques?
3. Practise how to follow these routines by using role plays and simulations in the setting you want the behaviour to be demonstrated e.g. if the class is expected to walk quietly down the hall to assembly, have them practise in the hall.
4. Create visuals for each of the routines – students could make posters, signs and pictures to remind class members.
5. Positively reinforce students with specific praise for following the routines. Decide if you want to use a reward system to embed the behaviour based on the needs of the students.
6. During class meetings review how the routine structure is working. Are there any routines that are not working or need to be tweaked? Allow students to give feedback about how they feel and what is working well for them.
7. Give students responsibility for the routines e.g. students collect workbooks and put them away.
8. Ensure you include routines for transition times. Moving from one activity to another, going out for breaks, entering the room can all be times when order can rapidly descend into chaos due to lack of procedures.
When students know and understand the processes that guide the behaviour in their classroom they can feel calm, confident and ready to learn!