The start of a new year is a great time to review and reflect on classroom routines. While you may be ready to jump right back into lessons, we can’t assume the same for our students. So, let’s chat about reviewing classroom routines and how to make sure the rest of your year runs smoothly!
Reflect on Previous Classroom Routines
Before diving into new routines, it’s helpful to take a moment to reflect on what has worked and what has been challenging in the past. Write down any pain points or successes you’ve experienced in the past, and use this information to guide your plan for the rest of the year.
For example… if you’ve noticed that you are spending a lot of time cleaning up after your students, consider how you can implement a new (or better) end-of-day routine to ensure they are the ones doing the work! Some ideas…
- Chromebooks not being plugged in after use
- Classroom is messy after lunch break
- Kids forgetting to stack chairs
- Chatty morning entry
The morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day, so it’s important to have clear expectations for students as they enter the classroom. Your students will definitely be chatty coming back after the break, so it’s important to get this going right from the beginning.
Consider reviewing routines such as morning slides, soft start activities, bell work, and silent reading. If you don’t have a morning routine in place, the new year is a great time to start one. Read the “A Morning Routine that Works!” blog post here for more information.
Review where students can find the supplies they will need throughout the day and where to turn in work, agendas, forms, etc. If you’ve had any challenges with supplies in the past, come up with new solutions to address these issues. It’s also a good idea to review how supplies should be treated and reinforce any consequences for not following these guidelines.
For example, for organization I use a 12-drawer cart from Michaels for worksheets students need to grab often. It’s a bit of an investment, but will save your sanity in the long run! Check out how I label mine in this reel!
Halfway through the school year is a good time to review and update class jobs. Make sure the jobs you assign are meaningful and help to take tasks off your plate, and consider adding or removing jobs as needed. If you don’t have class jobs in place, now is a great time to start implementing them to create a sense of community within your classroom and keep student engagement up.
Teacher Tip: Make sure the class jobs you have help YOU. Don’t make jobs just for the sake of it because that creates more work for you in the long run. Consider tasks you find yourself doing daily that COULD be done by a student instead. Examples:
- Changing the calendar/date/schedule (teacher’s assistant)
- Organizing classroom supplies
- Paper passers
- Paper filers (I have students take a checklist and check off student names as they hand assignments in – one less thing for me to do!) They can also alphabetize them for you
- Substitute – this person can “supply” for anyone that is absent
- Pencil sharpeners
- Tech Helpers (plugging in devices)
Ask for Student Input while Reviewing Classroom Routines
I love checking in with my students and asking for their opinion on the way our classroom is functioning. More often than not, they have some excellent suggestions on how to fix what isn’t working! Some suggestions my students have already provided me with this year are:
- Jobs that never seem to be needed (e.g., we had a pencil sharpener but there were never any pencils in the bin to sharpen)
- A job that could be useful (e.g., food runner as lunch orders started coming in)
- Lunch room expectations were not being followed so they suggested some consequences that they felt were fair
Reviewing classroom routines in January is a fast-pass to success for the rest of the school year. By reviewing past routines and implementing new ones, we can ensure that our classrooms run smoothly and efficiently. Also, don’t be afraid to make the review process fun by using games or interactive activities to engage students. For example, you can create a quick Jeopardy slideshow or keep it simple with a true/false game.
If you are looking for more details on implementing classroom routines, check out this blog post! Or, download this freebie on creating classroom routines and procedures.