When implementing routines and procedures in my class, I make sure to practice them with students. I work on the premise that nothing is intuitive. Transitioning between rooms, library etiquette, dining hall etiquette, classroom rules, tidying up, home time, washing hands… everything needs to be planned, practiced and consistently maintained. This practice may seem a bit tedious, but it lays the foundation for a successful year.
Every day follows a similar schedule for my class. There’s a structure in place that provides predictability for students.
We review this schedule every morning using daily schedule sequence cards. As we move through the day, the Teacher’s Helper changes the marker to reflect our progress.
Every morning, after outside play, students wash their hands, put their shoes away, and sit down on the carpet (criss-cross-applesauce) to start our day of learning.
A hello song greets them.
We check in with our emotions using the mood meter. Each student places their “picture bubble” on how they’re feeling.
We review classroom rules using reference cards and the Weather Helper sticks the orange dot on the correct weather card.
When it’s time for students to find their seats for Table Time, they get up one-by-one to find their name and sit down (why not get in some name recognition practice where we can?). I write their names with a whiteboard marker in a different spot each day.
Time to tidy up? I switch off the classroom lights as a sensory indicator, and play a song for those that need the reminder to stay on-task.
Putting their work away presents another opportunity for students to do some name recognition practice and it keeps our classroom neat and tidy.
To line up, students put on their shoes and find a truck. They either stand quietly and interact with the sensory wall, or sit down to speak with a friend whilst they wait for everyone to arrive .
When it’s time to transition, our chant to get going goes a little something like this:
Sometimes parents need a little bit of extra help, too.
The day before we have Swimming Class on our 10-day schedule, I attach swimming tags like this to students’ bags. The next morning, I remove them again. In my first year I often only had about 50% of students remember to pack their kits. This year? 100%
Another way to help parents is to help them keep track of which day we’re on in our 10-day cycle. That's why I have this little sign right by my door. The number is attached with sticky tack so I simply switch it out every morning.
Of course, I also need help keeping track of things sometimes. I use this laminated sheet on the edge of my desk and a whiteboard marker to keep track of everything from how high my students can count to who's returned their permission slips.