Back to School is just around the corner! For some, it has already started! Can you believe it? Didn’t summer JUST START? I’ve been thinking of some ways to ease the transition into the new school year, and for sure, making sure your students know how your classroom works is an important start to making sure your classroom runs like a well-oiled machine all year long.
Here are some important procedures to make sure you cover the first week of school. Don’t be afraid to model these for the students rather than just reading a list. They will remember more if you or a student actually goes through the procedure to demonstrate it!
1) How to enter the classroom. I was always a HUGE stickler about this. They needed to be seated in their own seat, ready to work when the bell rang. If they were up out of their seats (even if they were in the room), I considered that a tardy. Be sure to let your students know what you consider a tardy, and how they should enter your classroom. Many teachers don’t teach this important step–and they end up loosing hours by the end of the school year, waiting for the class to settle down after the bell so that they can get started teaching.
2) Have a “bellringer” activity. I merely had an overhead projector in my classroom when I was teaching. You don’t need any fancy technology–just something to get them working when the bell rings. Give them a Word of the Day (I had an entire journal system that my students had to complete each day for the Word of the Day–I’ll share that sometime), a brain teaser, a brief quiz –anything to get them working and focused while you take roll and take care of the minor housekeeping you need to do. Be sure to show them that this activity is expected to take place immediately after the bell rings. Since you have reinforced that they need to be in their seat when the bell rings, they can get started on this work right away.
3) When to use the restroom. I gave away [wpfilebase tag=fileurl path='Bathroom-Passes.pdf' linktext='Bathroom Passes' /] at the beginning of each semester. Just run off these easy passes in a bright color, cut out, and give three to each student. I had a policy that they could use a pass anytime they wanted…but they had to use them wisely. They could use a pass to run to their locker to get their homework, to run and get a water from the vending machine, or even to actually use the bathroom…but they only had three per semester!
4) Use of electronic devices/cell phones. Your cell phone and electronic device policy may be set in stone, but if you were anything like my school, it was up to the individual teacher to regulate and enforce. Let them know when they can have the device on, whether it needs to be on vibrate, and when they can actually use the device (i.e. cell phone in emergency only, no electronic devices at ALL during a quiz or test, etc.).
5) Turning in work/retrieving graded work. Be sure to have a place set aside for students to turn in their work. I used to have drawers like these, with two drawers set aside for each class. I would add labels like “Period One – IN” on the left and “Period One – OUT” on the right, and they would turn in and collect work there.
6) Turning in late work. Do you take late work? Be sure to address whether or not you accept late work, how many points off the assignment will get, and just how late you will accept the assignment. Think also about whether you will accept late work for big projects, but not for homework or classwork, or visa-versa.
7) Class rules. Do you have class rules? How to treat each other, how to work in groups, getting up our of your seat, talking out of turn, etc. I found just a simple set was pretty clear: 1) Treat everyone with respect, 2) Be responsible. Pretty self explanatory, we always talked about what each rule entailed, including respecting yourself and others, and bringing necessary materials to class each day (responsible).
Do you have any other essential classroom procedures? Please share!