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Classroom Management: Procedures

Janelle Cox

Procedures are a part of life. They are essential in society in order for people to function in an organized manner. Think of what life would be like if we didn’t have a procedure for a traffic light, or on an airplane. Procedures help us by demonstrating what is acceptable. Just like in life, classroom management procedures are a part of school. These procedures establish a classroom culture and community. Here we will take a look at why classroom management procedures are important and how to teach them.

Why Classroom Management Procedures are Important

From the time students enter your classroom, they must know your expectations. Procedures dictate what students are to do and how they will work. A procedure explains how you want something done, and it is your job as the teacher to clearly explain it. Procedures are necessary for several reasons. First, they are needed to effectively function in your classroom. Second, they reduce classroom interruptions and discipline problems because they tell students how things will work.

Every time a teacher wants something done, they will think of a procedure for how it will get done. For example, transitioning between activities. Classroom procedures help students know what to do when the bell rings, when their pencil breaks, when they finish their work early, or when the need to use the restroom. A smooth running classroom is the result of a teacher’s ability to effectively teach procedures for just about everything in their classroom.

How to Teach Procedures

There are basically three simple steps to follow when teaching a procedure. You must explain what you expect of the students, then practice it, and lastly reinforce it until it becomes a routine. Beginning the first day of school, you must have a procedure for the following:

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  • Entering the classroom
  • Leaving the classroom
  • Asking a question
  • Transitioning from activities
  • Being in the hallway
  • When to sharpen your pencil
  • Collecting papers

You must spend a lot of time during the first few weeks of school introducing, modeling, and practicing procedures. This must continue until the procedures become a routine. A routine is when students can perform a task without even thinking about it. If you find that students are not getting it, then reteach the correct procedure, offer feedback and rehearse until you find it acceptable. Remind the class of the procedure by saying “OK class, I would like to remind you that when the bell rings we remain in our seats until I dismiss you.” Then, practice with the students and have them experience it. When the bell rings, have the students look around and see that they are all sitting at their seats. Then, thank students and tell them they did a good job.

Using the Steps to Teach All Procedures

Here are a few examples of how to use the basic three steps to teach specific procedures.

Procedure for entering the classroom. Explain that when students enter the classroom they will put their stuff away (remove jacket, empty backpack, sharpen pencil, put homework folder in the basket) and go to their seat to complete their morning packet. Then, demonstrate or model for the students how you want it to look. Finally, have all of the students practice your procedure.

Procedure for using the restroom. Explain that when you need to use the restroom you must get up quietly and take the hall pass and leave the classroom. Upon return, you must hang your hall pass back up and quietly go back to your seat. Next, model what you want it to look like. Then have a few students in the class practice what it should look like.

Procedure for seeking help. Explain that when a student has a question they are to first think about it, and see if they already know the answer, then their next step would be to ask someone next to them, and then finally flip their sign that is at their desk from green to red so the teacher knows they need help. Next, model what this should look like. Then, have students take turns practicing what it should look like.

An effective teacher spends a lot of time teaching and practicing procedures.  Once you have your procedures in place, you will find that it will become second nature to your students and your class will practically run by itself. Do not get discouraged if you find that students are not getting it. Just keep practicing and they will get it in no time.

Do you have any tips on implementing procedures in your classroom? Share with us in the comment section below, we would love to hear your ideas.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a master's of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the elementary education expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or visit her website at Empoweringk6educators.