Teaching Classroom Routines will create a student centered classroom community that will engage your students for the entire year.
In the analogy of building a student centered math class is just like a house, we are in step 2- the structure. When you’re building a house first you need a solid foundation. In this case, it is your math vision established through reflection on math stories and mindset. Next, is the structure! Every good house has solid joists, plumbing, electric and other structures that make the house live-able. In our math house we need routines to make our home function.
Why are we Teaching Classroom Routines?
When we are teaching classroom routines we allow our students to know exactly what we expect of them in that moment. This creates a sense of safety. Students can confidently carry out the tasks without help from adults, they know what to do! In fact, it allows students to take ownership over the classroom and let’s them lead! Your classroom routines need to be so clear that students don’t have to rely on you to execute most of the class. Instead, they simply carry out the routines you taught them!
Routines allow students to feel safe because they know exactly what to expect each day. Safety breeds belonging. When students feel like they belong and confidence in what to do in the classroom… then that they are more willing to participate, take risks, and share their thinking! And isn’t THAT what we’re going for in math class?
How do we teach classroom routines?
My 3 step process:
Step 1: Think each classroom routine through completely
Step 2: Teach, Model, Demonstrate, Explain
Step 3: Practice, Reflect, Revise, Repeat
Here’s an example of Teaching Classroom Routines
Greeting & Entering the Classroom Routine
Step 1- Here is the routine completely typed out (and I’m still probably missing things).
- Wait in line- straight, still, quiet.
- Greet teacher with a handshake & verbal greeting
- firm, eye contact, pleasant face, speak up
- Shake TA’s hand (standing inside or near closet) with same criteria as above
- Hang up your coat & backpack on your hook.
(We have a coat closet not lockers, so adjust to fit your needs!)
- Go straight in and straight out.
- Hang your backpack up, unzip, unpack, re-zip
- Go directly to your seat using the shortest path possible.
- Place your materials on your desk.
- Read the morning message.
Step 2- Teaching the Classroom Routines using Modeling, Demonstration, & Explanation
On the very first day we will go back out into the hallway and practice! I’ll have everyone sit in the hallway while I model what this will look like (silly & dramatically, but also serious). Then, we will line up like it’s the beginning of the day and walk through the whole routine.
Step 3- Next, I’ll ask students to reflect.
“What did we nail and do really well? What could we improve?” I also like to call this ” a glow & a grow”. We name one thing we did well (a glow) and one part we need to grow in!
Then, we might even try part of it again. “I’m going to give you another chance to nail going into the coat closet and coming out without chaos!!”
If you need even more support with teaching routines, check out the guru, Harry Wong.
Next Steps for Teaching Classroom Routines
So, are you ready to get this party started? I know you are! No matter the time of year, year of teaching, or current catastrophe… YOU GOT THIS! I created a routine list to get you started. Use this to start and then add to it. Think of ALL the routines you’ll need to teach your students and add them on.
Remember, think through any part of the day that you want your students to be able to do something (real
ly anything) without having to give directions. You could also consider times of day that tend to be chaotic or challenging. These times also need some routines. Break them down into small bits and try to think of every single element of the task.
If questions come up… as always, reach out! I’m happy to help! firstname.lastname@example.org
Free Ebook to help you create a Student Centered Math Classroom
More resources for you!
Teaching Math Growth Mindset is essential to establishing a solid my classroom culture. Check out this post to get started!
You might also be interested in reading about how I use mistakes in my math classroom!
You also MUST check out this post from my friend Teaching with Kaylee B about 9 Classroom Routines & Procedures