An effective management plan is vital to the success and efficiency of your classroom and most importantly, your students. Well thought-out classroom procedures should be in place on day one. Keep in mind, you won’t be able to teach every procedure on that first day. What are the key procedures you might want to teach on the first day of school? We have found that policies regarding entering class, using the bathroom, borrowing and sharpening pencils, using classroom supplies, and turning in assignments are those procedures that should be taught first. It is vital that you continue to reinforce these key procedures throughout the year.
We think this is the most important procedure for teachers to carefully think through and execute really well on day one. Here’s what we mean:
- Are you going to have students enter class, sit down, and wait for you before getting started? Will they pick up a resource and/or a certain material from the moment they walk into class? If this is the case, you will need to think through how this will be taught.
- Are you going to have students enter class, sit down, and immediately start working on a bell-ringer or question? If this is the case, they must do this on the first day.
A successful first day is when students are immediately getting to work in the exact way you expect for the rest of the year. The routine you want students to do every single day starts with the first time they enter your classroom.
This is another procedure to address on day one. Someone will inevitably raise their hand to go to the bathroom. Have your procedure ready to go. Explain the procedure to the entire class. Do they raise their hand? Do you establish signals?
Another inevitable question is, “Can I borrow a pencil?” Have a plan in place so students are not continuously asking this same question. The solution? A pencil jar with sharpened pencils. It is also smart to give students the opportunity to sharpen their pencils before class starts. When class begins, there should be no more pencil sharpening as this can be very disruptive.
If students have to get up in the middle of class to get something, what is the procedure? This requires telling and showing students the expected method. Go ahead and teach the procedure for getting certain supplies such as calculators or scissors that might be used everyday or the majority of days.
Turning in and passing back papers is a huge one, as well. Practice this on day one by handing out papers and having students practice turning in something to a designated bin.
There are plenty other procedures to teach, but the ones above are those we have found most valuable to teach the first day of school. This sets the standard for classroom policies and shows students you are organized, prepared, and going to enforce efficient classroom management throughout the school year.
Erica Callaway, Studer Education℠