At the beginning of the year, teachers are always setting up routines for students to make the classroom run smoothly. Students need to know where to turn in work, how to get and collect computers, what do we do the first few minutes of class, and much more. Here are five things to consider when rolling out your routines.
Model and Practice
The best way to teach and implement your class routines is to show the students explicitly what you expect and then practice it with them. Although this may take some time, it will pay off for the rest of the year. For example, I show the students where to get a lap table and how to sit with it on the carpet. Then I will return it to the correct place. I will next have some student volunteers model and practice the way I just did it. That way the students see it twice and now I have a few experts who have just practiced it.
Make it Fun
I always try to encourage students to participate in the routines of the classroom by making it fun. I can do friendly competitions with teams or table groups. The group that does it the best will earn points or small rewards. Putting our chairs up before we leave every day is something that is expected. I have given table points for those who remember to put their chairs up without a reminder. On the night before the jog-a-thon, we had a contest to see who could not only put up his or her chair but have a nicely folded shirt for the morning event.
Choose Classroom Jobs that Help
I always have a list of jobs at the beginning of the year for students to apply for. They range from passing out homework to collecting computers. The students actually fill out an application and apply for the top three positions they want to do. Then I fill the jobs with those students who are interested. Students don’t have to have a job and some have more than one. I also have them do that job the whole year in order to become an expert.
Ask Students to be a Part of Routines
I encourage students to be part of the process of creating routines. Along with the jobs, I tell students, if you think of a job we need in the classroom, let me know. I have several jobs added each year that are student chosen. Also, let the students know that all of us need to participate in the routines to keep track of everything and help our room run smoothly.
Use Experience Students to Help
I have my returning students train the new students for the jobs that we have in the classroom. If you change jobs regularly, you can have the last person with the job, train the new person. The point is, use the students to help. They love the responsibility and let’s face it, you need one less thing to do.
As you start this year, think of ways to include the students in helping you do those routines in the classroom. It will only make your day better and the students will gain pride in being an active participant. I hope your beginning of the school year is starting off great!