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July 19, 2016

5 Classroom Routines to Establish Early On

Written By: Brandi Jordan
X 5 Classroom Routines to Establish Early On

5 Classroom Routines to Establish Early On

Setting up good classroom routines from the start is the key to a successful year.  Not only does it provide students with a sense of security in the routine, but it also keeps your classroom running like a well-oiled machine.  If you are new to teaching, or simply need some ideas for the routines you should establish, the five suggestions below are sure to help get you started.

 

Must-Have Classroom Routines

Morning Routine

When students enter the classroom for the first time each morning, what can they expect?  Establish a routine that has them putting their backpacks away and then starting on an activity right away.  This allows them to quickly become focused and ready to learn.

 

Lunch Routine

Get students used to making their lunch choices known from the start.  Use a pocket chart to establish a routine where they indicate whether they are buying lunch or eating one from home.  You may want to incorporate this into your morning routine before they begin their first activity.

 

Homework Collection & Distribution

What should students do when they bring papers back in from home?  By establishing a turn in, pass back system, students will always know where those homework papers go.  Assign a student to pass them back at the end of the day for easy distribution.

 

Classroom Jobs

Set aside a time at the very beginning of the school year to describe the classroom job process.  By making students responsible for the care and cleanliness of the classroom, they are much more likely to be invested in their space.  Not only does it teach them about responsibility, it also helps to create a team spirit. If you have more students than jobs, double up and have them complete the tasks as a team.

End of the Day

Who rides the bus home?  Who walks?  Who gets picked up by their parents?  What happens if someone has a different routine one day?  Establish a clear end of the day routine that visually shows how each student is getting home.  By using a pocket chart, if a student’s usual routine is being altered, you will know that at the beginning of the day.  This will help the end of the day run a lot more smoothly.

 

What are some of your favorite and most essential classroom routines?  Is there one that you cannot live without?  Share it with us below or on the Really Good Teachers Forums!

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  • MrsLandfair
    July 20, 2016

    I check my students in at the beginning of the day. They meet me at the sign-in desk to let me know their lunch plans and also show me their planners. This way I get all parent notes, lunch money, and other information out of the way first thing. I mark a chart with their lunch choice (B for buy, M for milk, P for pack, Ab for absent), and also note in the planner when lunch money is received (amount and number of lunches). It only takes a minute then to report attendance and lunch count electronically. Students are to turn in their homework, in the corresponding basket first thing in the morning, but this has been a challenge. I may think about having one homework basket and sorting it out myself (which usually happens anyway).

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  • kimches
    July 19, 2016

    I teach first grade, and it is very important to establish reading group routines. Students need to know what to do while I am working with a group. For the past 2 years I have used the Daily 5 structure. First graders are engaged in meaningful reading activities such as Read to Self, Read to a Partner, Work on Writing, Word Work, and Listen to Reading. The book bins from Really Good Stuff help tremendously in organizing this structure.

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  • Leah Demain
    May 11, 2012

    This is very helpful. This is my first year teaching and I didn’t set some of these routines at the beginning and it has been soi hard to establish them after the fact

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  • Cheryl
    July 25, 2011

    I establish routines and expectations from day one and we review daily for a couple weeks, then we review weekly then we review quarterly and back to daily during March and so forth. Our school works with PBIS and this helps tremendously!!

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  • Meaghan
    July 1, 2011

    For students who missed class… I put their name on any handouts and put them into a magnetic clip which is on my side board. Then when students come back to school they can check the clip to see if there are any handouts that they missed to pick up.

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  • Meaghan
    July 1, 2011

    Even in a high school classroom, routines are still important. I like to have something on the smartboard for students to start when they come into the classroom.

    I also have a basket that the students put their assignments in as they come into the classroom. It also eliminates students continuing to work on incomplete assignments when I am teaching something new on the board.

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  • KarenK
    June 18, 2011

    I have a 2 column graph……Lunch from home on one side….and school lunch on the other. I assign colored clothespins with names on them. They can identify their name quickly and learn graphing at the same time. It works great!

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  • Jill
    June 14, 2011

    As a substitute who will have my own classroom for the fall, I can tell you that it is VERY evident when subbing which teachers have routines and procedures set in stone. I was in a Kindergarten room once, and the class literally could have run itself! The students knew the schedule, how to line up, where everything went, and that they needed to be quiet when waiting for the bathroom. I was so impressed! I hope I can instill routines and procedures into my classroom as well as you all have.

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  • Brittney
    June 13, 2011

    As a recent graduate, I am gathering as much helpful tips and ideas as far as classroom management goes. I have observed great classrooms that run smoothly because procedures are in place and practiced daily. I really love the morning work, turn in/pass back, and how do we go home? pocket charts!! I believe these three areas are key procedures that need to be set in place from day one in the classroom! Thanks for the ideas! 🙂

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  • Karen Drinkall
    June 13, 2011

    As a 6th grade teacher establishing routines is essential. I take the time to teach the routines for starting class, homework, ending class, etc. right away. As a teacher in a departmentalized situation it is extremely important for saving instructional time. Established routines allow a teacher to teach instead of wasting time repeating. I agree with Angela that having these routines make life easier for substitutes. The previous year I was out for almost a whole week and there were things the students needed to do but I forgot to include them all. The students didn’t forget and knew exactly what to do. The substitute was impressed!

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  • Angela Nuxoll
    June 12, 2011

    I teach intermediate grades, and the need for routine is still very evident- in grades 3-5. I do try to vary the activity, but the routine stays the same. Since I have implemented routines, I have had great responses from substitute teachers who have visited my room. They always comment on how well behaved my students are, and that they always know what is to be expected. The sooner teachers can implement a routine, (earlier in year, AND grade) the more beneficial it is for everyone.

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  • Nadia Batson
    June 12, 2011

    Being a K teacher, I think it is very important to establish a bathroom routine as well. For example, I begin with how to ask to use the restroom. I teach them the sign “t” and explain how it stands for toilet. This way, I do not have to stop teaching or working with another student to tell them they may use the restroom. I just nod my head. No interruptions. Also, what do you expect your students to do? Do they need a bathroom pass? Do they wait in a certain area or just by the door? Teaching them how to knock, make sure they flush, washing hands, etc are all very vital. This year our PE time ended only 7 minutes before lunch began. We had to wash hands, get water, and go to the bathroom in a matter of 7 minutes. The routines I had in place really helped in this case!

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  • Kristoffer
    June 9, 2011

    I felt it was important to activate students’ brains before they even stepped foot in the classroom so I placed laminated stepping stones with open ended thoughts and ideas, related to the topic of the day, on the floor outside my classroom. Students loved to read the prompts as they followed them into the classroom.

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