Kids CRAVE routine. They need it and they want it. Don’t believe me? Give your students a free day and see how crazy it is. When kids have classroom routines and stability behavior is better and thus learning is increased!
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As soon as I graduated college I was accepted into The Teacher Fellows Program at Texas State University. This program allowed me to complete my first year of teaching while earning my masters all in one year.
One class required us to develop a plan for our classroom. It was like my bible during my first year of teaching. I still have my Classroom Management Plan binder but I glance at it less and less each year. (Which is good that I don’t need it as much, but a glance through it each year is always really refreshing!)
Within this binder we developed all sorts of plans and goals for the upcoming year. One section was devoted completely to classroom routines. Things like morning and afternoon routines, pencil sharpening, bathroom expectations, etc.
Unfortunately, I don’t think many new teachers stop to think about all of those things before the school year starts. We get so caught up in laying out and decorating our classroom that we forget to be intentional about setting routines.
A message I get often in DMs or email is “you would be so appalled at my classroom.” I think teachers often feel ashamed of their classroom, and even more ashamed because they don’t think it can be fixed. That’s simply not true. When I chatted with Danielle and Nicole from Edverything Education, they asked me if it takes a certain kind of person to have an organized classroom.
I never thought it about it like that before so the question took me off guard. But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve realized that anyone can be organized. It’s through routines like the ones I am about to share with you that help teachers get and maintain classroom organization.
Classroom Routines to Plan for:
These are some routines that are VITAL for planning out before the school year starts. I’ll give you a few of my ideas, but mainly I will ask you questions to get you thinking about them!
What will the kids do when they enter your classroom each morning? I suggest something other than “read a book.” Are there STEM activities they can do? I used these writing prompts 2-3 days a week along with centers on the other days.
The free challenge, Prep for the First Day. is a great way for you to think through all the things you need as a first year teacher to plan for the new school year. Click the photo below to sign up and get the first email straight in your inbox!
If it’s the middle of the year when you are reading this, have no fear! The Mid Year Classroom Tune Up is a course that will help you revamp your classroom organization and management mid year.
How will the kids know it’s time to leave? When will you write notes in folders, pass out papers, give homework, etc.? This is THE MOST stressful time of the day for me and usually the time of day where I lose my cool. I know this from experience so I make sure to give myself ample time (10-15 minutes in 2nd grade) for kids to pack up and do their classroom job so I am not rushing.
What will you do once kids are packed up and ready to go? If there is time left over, a chapter book read aloud is always a calm way to end the day
Will you allow kids to go to the bathroom whenever? How do they signal to you when they need to go? Will they take a pass? I don’t let mine take the pass to the bathroom…waaaaayyyyy too gross. I have my students put the pass on their desk so that thing doesn’t get all nasty in the bathroom.
The bane of every teacher…The pencil sharpener.
I refuse to let kids sharpen pencils during the day. One student’s job is to sharpen them at the end of the day and we have a tray they can get sharpened pencils from. In years past I have put mini sharpeners at each desk for them to use if absolutely necessary.
One year, pencils were such an issue that I made a pencil chart and they had to use only the pencils in their pocket….
Community or individual supplies? Where will you store them? How will students get the materials if they are not stored at their desk?
I prefer community supplies and house them all in the red cabinets in the back of my room. The “Team Captain” is the one who gets the materials for the team each day and returns them when we are done with them.
Turning in Papers
How will you manage students turning in their papers and then grading them? How will you get student work back to them to be corrected or when it is graded?
Make a plan for this…Or else you’ll end up like me and send home papers two times a year (Christmas break and EOY….)
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Teaching Classroom Routines
Once you have planned out all of your routines, you need to make a plan for implementing your classroom routines.
I am a big supporter of spending the first week of school establishing and reinforcing routines. Yes, academics should most definitely be mixed in there but it is more of a review than new content.
When teaching students the routines, you want to make sure you are rewarding frequently and to all students. This will help reinforce the positive choices they are making.
I like to reward them with a “Buchtien Buck,” essentially classroom money. This worked well because it was part of my Behavior Management Economic System. I created this system to manage behavior and teach personal financial literacy.
They get positive reinforcement for their behavior and it also allows me to set expectations for and teach about my positive behavior plan.
Until next time,
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