In this post we will discuss classroom routines and procedures for the beginning and end of the day as well as routines throughout the day. These routines will help you and your students keep an organized classroom!
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I often hear teachers say things like “I started out the year organized, but it got messy throughout the year and I didn’t have time to keep it organized.”
Part of staying organized as a classroom teacher is to build in routines for yourself to keep the classroom organized. Even better is to create classroom routines and procedures for your kiddos to help maintain organization!
Kids Need Routines
Did you know that students CRAVE routines? They actually want and need boundaries so they know what is expected of them and what is not.
Classroom routines and procedures can help your kids (and you!) be more organized- which is what we all need a little bit more of in our classrooms!
According to Very Well Family, routines can help students:
- Teach kids self-discipline
- Keep kids safe
- Keep kids healthy
- Help kids cope with uncomfortable feelings
- and show that you (the teacher) care
As a classroom teacher, I had very high expectations for my kids.
I didn’t (and still don’t) believe in holding their hands (figuratively) (or literally…that’s creepy. don’t do that.) or being easy on them.
My kids were always aware of my expectations and followed them (for the most part) because they knew what was expected of them.
High expectations are key to creating a welcoming environment.
While some teachers feel the best way to win a student or class over, is to be friendly, fun, and easy-going, I believe the opposite.
I was not mean (most of the time!) nor did I yell at them like a drill sergeant (very often!…we all have our bad days!).
Safety is found within boundaries and love- which is why I created high expectations and held my students to them. They thrived with those high expectations!
Daily Classroom Routines and Procedures
These classroom routines and procedures are going to be what help you keep your classroom organized and running smoothly.
Routines are the biggest piece of the puzzle when it comes to creating organized classrooms.
There are so many routines you need, as the teacher, to stay organized. (<<< Head there to download a free guide to creating organization routines for teachers!)
Students also spend a ton of time in the classroom and should also be responsible for maintaining the organization.
So let’s break down the different daily student routines your kiddos will do to help keep an organized classroom!
When students enter the classroom in the morning, you want to make sure they know exactly what is expected of them.
Here are some suggestions:
- Check-in (I used clothespins with numbers as a simple way for students to let me know they were present)
- Turn in Take Home Folders
- Place notes from home on your desk (I recommend using a small bin or basket like this to house these notes. Kids know exactly where they go + it is easy to find them)
- Students read Morning Message to see what they are to do during the bell time
I like the idea of including morning yoga (or even a brain break) into the morning routine as well. I think it’s a great way to wake up kids brains.
Routines During the Day
Here are some useful classroom routines and procedures to help keep your kids on track throughout the day.
1. Team Mats
Cooperative Learning is a great way to improve management but also organization because you can quickly assign jobs and tasks to students. A simple statement like “Will the number 2s please bring the materials back to the math shelf?” and you have your class quickly and efficiently picking up.
Check out more about Cooperative Learning in my interview with Dr. Kagan himself and with a certified Kagan trainer, Sarah.
2. Daily Helper and Team Captain
The Team Captain number comes from the number on their Team Mats. Again, a really simple and visual way to let the class know who is “in charge” of materials on any given day.
The Daily Helper is pretty self-explanatory and just identified by their roster number. You can read more about the Daily Helper and Team Captain roles right here + download the free resource to use in your classroom.
3. Carpet Seating
Yes, I was that teacher that assigns spots on the carpet. I intentionally assigned seats at their desks to facilitate cooperative learning, so why not do the same on the carpet?
On the wall next to our carpet area I had table signs. Students sit in the correct row for their table. I organize it even further by having the number 1’s (from the team mats) sit closest to the wall, #2’s next to them, then #3’s and #4’s sit on the edge of the carpet.
Again, this is an easy and organized way to instruct students to talk with partners. It is also a really easy way to dismiss students from the carpet. For example, if you are a number 1, you may stand up and walk back to your desk. Easy peasy!
Lastly, I used CHAMPS to give my students expectations for each specific lesson.
My campus was trained on this model before I got there, so this may not be specifically how it is supposed to be used. But it’s what worked for me!
C-Conversation (what voice level students should be at)
H- Help (how students signal to you that they need help
A- Activity (what the students are doing
M- Movement (can they go to the bathroom, get water? Where should they be sitting)
P- Participation (who they are working with)
S- Idk what this is so I don’t use it 😉
Dismissal can be a crazy, stressful, and disorganized time of the day. Or maybe it’s just because it was my least favorite part of the day…It was when I am most likely to get overwhelmed and lose my cool.
You are on a strict schedule by this point, and you can’t just run over time and take a few minutes from the next lesson. Plus, you are ready to get these sweet darlings on a bus and HOME!
Here are a few tips on end of the day dismissal routines:
- Allow 8-15 minutes for dismissal depending on your students and their needs
- Create structure in your dismissal by following the same procedure each day. (Write it down if you need to, till you have it memorized)
- Pass out folders, take-home notes, and use this time to check through their folders or document any necessary behaviors in their journals (good and bad!)
- Use a phrase like “clean up, pack up, stack up” to signal to students that they need to do those things
- Students can do their classroom jobs at this time (Hint: your students should be doing most of the classroom cleaning and picking up so you can return to your nice, neat, and organized classroom. Read more about classroom jobs here!
End of Day Student Jobs
Some of the most ideal jobs for students to do at the end of the day are:
- Sharpening pencils
- Organizing turned in papers
- Move clips from “present” back to “absent” for the next day
- Clean up the Classroom Library
- Straighten desks
- Pick up trash
I always had teachers come in and ask me how I keep my room so clean throughout the day. My answer is… my kids. They did the majority of it! (I, of course, had some routines for staying organized throughout the day, as well.)
When it came to holding my students accountable- we didn’t move on until things were picked up and put away. We didn’t leave the classroom unless it was spotless- it is not the janitor’s job to pick up pencils or move chairs that didn’t get stacked.
Just like we take care of our home-home, we take care of our school-home. This, my friends, is how my classroom is always so clean! 🙂 That simple!
Student Routines: They are super important! Want to create a welcoming and safe environment? Give them boundaries and routines. They CRAVE it!
Create your own classroom routines and procedures by implementing structures that are the same each day for arrival, dismissal, and throughout the day. Be sure to write these down for reference until you and your students can do them without any reminders.
I threw a lot at you in this post! Here’s a recap of some of the most relevant links to help you create your own classroom routines and procedures.
- 5 Tips to Stay Organized as a Teacher
- Establish your own routines with this Classroom Organization Routines Planner
- Implement a Daily Helper and Team Captain to help around the classroom
- 10 Classroom Job Ideas for Elementary Teachers
- Create a Student Paper Workflow and Keep Papers Organized
Until next time,
S on CHAMPS is success!