The #1 thing I take pride in and place value on in my classroom is routines. Especially with junior students, the class can make or break without strong routines in place. They aren't built in one day; but with time, practice and commitment, you can have strong routines for your classroom.
Why are routines important? Well firstly, students know where things go, how they should be, what comes first or second etc, what will follow on. This helps lessen any anxiety students and teachers might have, build clear expectations on what is expected of them and creates a high functioning classroom.
On the first day of school, I always spend it building relationships, touching on surface level routines like how we sit on the mat, where our personal belongings go (in our bags) and using a small selection of classroom belongings. Before setting students off to complete it, use it or play with it I always talk through the expectations and model how it should go. This could be physically showing them, using another child to model or role play and being consistent about what is happening while students are completing the action. If students are needing reminding, I will pause and gain all their attention to talk about next steps or recap the routine we are practicing. Lots and lots of positive praise helps to - nothing like dojo points for listening first time! Over time, these routines become easier and easier (as does anything)
It can be a bit daunting with how many routines you need to practice! I would work on covering the same few everyday until they are independently showing them without reminders. Then add a few more each week until they have sufficient practice and are confident! The above five examples are some you could start with in your first few weeks of school.
A helpful hint - especially if you have junior students; is to make visuals to help with routines. Where things go, how things should be and reminders of expectations to support the routines.
Making things part of your routines will help students (and you) in the long run. The above pictures are my favourites - especially the Bitmoji prompts! Anything can be made into a routine, it just takes practice and repetition.
If you have any questions about any of the classroom routines I have please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org. Just remember to take the time they need to be implemented successfully and if your classroom seems on edge, 9 times out of 10 its a routine that isn't being held up!
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