BUT I HAVE TO TEACH COMMON CORE!! Please don’t panic, I know that we all have standards to teach and curriculum to cover. However, as we head back to school, we can’t forget to start with the basics! And I am not talking about letters and numbers, I mean routines and procedures.
I cannot say it enough: Routines and procedures are the things that will ensure you have the time to teach all that other stuff. Skipping them now, will force you to deal with behaviors all year, instead of just preventing them (I call that- my first year of teaching.)! So without further ado, here are my FIVE tips to get you on your way!
1. Identify the routines/procedures you need to teach and how you will want them to be executed.
You can’t start teaching them if you don’t know where to start! Please check out this list I created to help you get started.
Everyone has their own routine, so be clear on how you want things to be managed. I use shared supplies in my classroom. We only access glue, scissors, markers, and pens when needed (not on the table). We have a bathroom in our classroom, so that makes our routine for using it a little simpler. If this is your first year or your first year trying something, don’t worry if you plan a routine that doesn’t work. Whenever you want to change it, just make sure you teach it again!
2. Schedule time to introduce each routine and procedure and explicitly teach each one.
This is important. It is so easy to jump past this step at the beginning of the year. We are always sitting down as a team and pacing out our writing units, math lessons, handwriting, phonics and more (and it’s more every year). However, working in all of the routines and procedures is key to getting all that other stuff done. For example: If I don’t teach students what to do when they are done with their work, I will spend time telling them each time instead of helping students who are struggling.
I go right into my plans (on planbook.com if you haven’t checked out that post yet) and put each of these in MORE THAN ONCE! No student at any age (except those few and far between geniuses) gets it the first time. They will need you to teach and then re-teach, so plan it in! Many of the procedures could be linked with other lessons. I teach our glue handling rules during one of our first phonics lessons when they need to use glue! It is all about integration! Many of the routines are introduced the first day, because we do them every day!
3. Model and Practice
So when I said “explicitly teach”, I meant show them. Think of it as a step by step and show them while you tell them. We will have lots of time this year to start with a conversation and some inquiry. These lessons for routines should be you talking and showing them. You already decided the routines, so just share what you decided.
Let the students do the modeling as well. I start our first day every year with our morning routine. I go through each step and choose a student to model each one before allowing all students to practice. For routines that we will do each day, we just practice once each time and review as we do them. Other procedures like handling books, you may want to practice a few times.
Make it fun! Many students LOVE pretending. I have them model the right way and the wrong way. We show what it would be like if EVERYONE interrupted at once (This gets modeled over and over again those first few months in kindergarten.) and then we compare with everyone instead raising their hand quietly. Join in the fun by being silly too! The students laugh hysterically when I handle books the wrong way and they can give the reminders!
Most of these (with some exceptions) are things you would like them to do independently. So, they need something to reference. Try these ideas for a way to remember:
–Songs– I prefer this way because I LOVE to sing. You can find tons of songs that help students remember routines, so choose the one that works for you. I have some that I created and have used some of them for years! Students teach these songs to special area teachers, substitutes, and their families. If you print these out and post in the room, you will be more likely to remember and use them. Sing them A LOT in the beginning and then slowly phase out to using when a reminder is needed. The Listening Songis often all that is needed to se
ttle my class to get ready to listen.
–Chants/Rhymes- Sometimes a short phrase is all you need. These work well for materials like glue (Just a dot, not a lot.). Rhyming helps! I have created a few that I will be using this year. Posting them around the room will help us all remember. Please check out my resource if you would like something ready to use!
–Anchor Charts- We use them for reading, writing, and math, so why not routines and procedures? I often record our morning routines that first day on a chart that I post for the first few weeks. After that, students have it down and we no longer need the chart. In the mean time it is a great reference!
–Photographs- My drawing ability is slightly questionable, so I rely on photographs for students to SEE what I expect. For kindergartners at the beginning of the year, these help since most can’t read yet! I take quick pictures with my iPad and then upload and print. I often add them to our anchor charts or post along with lyrics. Take photos of students using a material, project, and discuss! Have the students critique their own behavior. I share positive examples with parents using the SeeSaw app (more about that here).
So, you taught them all (more than once), you hung reminders around the room, and students (gasp) still aren’t always doing what they need to be! Hold them accountable for what you taught, or everything you did was a waste! I am NOT saying take away playtime every time a student forgets to put the cap back on a marker, but find a way to ensure they will be responsible. This may just be review lessons with certain students, a conversation, or other behavior management tools!
Having classroom expectations are great place to start! Following all these routines and procedures are part of being a good classroom citizen. I use 6 simple expectations that we cover throughout September along with all these routines and procedures. Check out my resource to see the posters and badge system that I will be using this year to help manage my classroom!
So take the time and reap the rewards all year long! This is something I have to remind myself each year and I am so excited to spend time creating a smooth running classroom (for the most part when it’s not a full moon) this year!
Check out my Positive Behavior Tools Products to get started!