Whew! I’m just wrapping up a full 5-day week of a new school year. My throat is sore from talking so much and my feet are sore from standing on them all day. Otherwise, things are running smoothly in Room 411. Much of that success is due to having lots of routines and procedures that help us manage our day so efficiently.
Creating My Check List
To get my year started off on the right foot, so to speak, I created a check list of all the routines I wanted to teach my new group of 25 fourth-graders. I just “thought” my way through a typical school day starting with the first bell ringing in the morning. What did I want them to do without a lot of direction and on a regular basis? Tasks such as taking attendance, collecting homework, using the computer, etc. Also, what were some routines kids needed to know as mandated by my school district? This would included knowing the emergency procedures for fire, earthquake, tornado and intruder drills, for example.
First Things First
I set aside lots of time in the first few days of school to not only introduce these routines, but to provide kids with opportunities for practice. Routines can’t be a “one and done” kind of thing. Of course, as the year progresses, less time need be devoted to practice and can shift to reinforcement and encouragement. In order to help me actually remember when to give regular reminders about our routines, I use a strategy I call “First Things First.” Quite simply, on the “first” of something, I review a select number of routines – the first day of the month, the first day of the week, the first day of the quarter…That’s all. Somehow that just sticks in my head and I remember to get it done.
Relying on My Routines
Here’s my B2S (Back-to-School) Check List. Obviously, it’s customized to my classroom and my teaching style – change it to suit your own personality and habits. Routines, when taught and reinforced with your students, can help a teacher keep their sanity through a loooonnnng school year. Since it’s still only August (deep breath!), I know I will be relying on these routines to maintain order and keep us focused on learning.