“little” things that you have to do. You have to get your room set up, get to
know your students, familiarize yourself with IEPs, and most importantly you
have to create procedures. Starting off the school year with students who don’t
know you and your style can be trying; that’s why it’s important to teach
everyday procedures in your class on the first day of school (and beyond!) so students know
what is expected of them (and so you don’t need to use that whole bottle of pain
killer in your drawer). While it is important to teach procedures on day one, they must be practiced and reinforced all year! Let’s start at the beginning.
day. Teach students right away how you want them to enter the room. More than
teaching it, you should practice it to. When you leave for lunch, recess,
music, or another special and come back into the room, what should students do?
You don’t have to have different procedure for every little thing students
leave for, but you want to have general procedures. Setting this procedure will
save you many headaches in the days to come.
Start your engines!
includes attendance, lunch count, Pledge of Allegiance, and getting specific
supplies ready is a great idea. Having your day start off smooth can set the
tone for the rest of the day.
to be asking them to line up just as often. Making sure you have a procedure so
this does not turn into a herd of elephants tromping down the hallway. You can
have dots on the floor for students to stand on to help keep students in place
with an appropriate amount of space between them.
procedure for how we walk in the hallway. I find it fun to say something such
as, “Let’s walk like we are mice!” In other words, let’s walk quietly. I have
also used, “Catch a bubble” accompanied by “Catch a bee.” This helps keeps our
mouths quiet and our hands to ourselves.
a perk of the job is going through mountains of markers because caps don’t get
put back on or going through hours of precious time cleaning up after your
littles. Students should know how to put things back. Have a procedure and an
organizational plan to make sure students know where everything goes. This may be
having pictures of supplies on different containers to show the proper places
to put their tools away.
Sometimes when we ask for an idea we get a life story along with it. While it’s
great to hear about your students’ experiences, there is a correct time and
place. Create procedures for the right time and place to share different ideas.
In addition to time and place procedures, you’ll also want to have students
raise their hands and wait to be called on. Waiting is usually the hardest part
are great! They show us so much but they can be, well, annoying if there is no
procedure for asking them. If you don’t want students to come up to your desk,
you need to set those boundaries right away. I have a question box (not a
literal box). I taped a square on my floor and if a student has a question they
go stand in the box.
One of the things that really got me going was when one person ruined it for
everyone! Setting a procedure for how to act in the library and what you need
to do when you’re in the library is very important for you and the librarian.
have scraped a lot of gum off of things. Make sure students know where the
trash can is located and emphasize they use it. On top of that, make sure they
aren’t getting up and throwing stuff away at a distracting time.
from someone else for a little while and it can break up the day or the week a
little bit. Make sure students know what to do when a guest enters the room.
You can have a class “host” or “hostess” who is designated to greet them.
Meanwhile everyone else should be seated or busy doing something else until the
guest speaker is ready to begin.
or tornado drill, there is already a procedure you have to follow. Ensuring
that students are on the same page and reviewing those drills before an actual
drill happens is so important. A fire or tornado drill can disrupt the whole
day. If your students know what to do, they are less likely to go crazy when
the buzzer goes off.
brawls, crying, and who knows what else. Give students things they can do
during free time so they aren’t really running wild. You can even tailor the
options to go along with whatever you are currently working on. This procedure
will keep your teacher hat on and your referee hat in the closet.
day always comes to an end. We are teaching students how to read yes, but we
are also teaching them how to be responsible. Make sure students know to clean
up their desks and organize everything so they are ready for the next day.
year so much better. While teaching these procedures, remember Rome was not
built in a day. Your students will have to practice these procedures in order
to perfect them and you may have to adjust them along the way. That’s what
learning is all about: practice.