Procedures! Procedures! Procedures!

Leadership //

Welcome back to the new series on classroom management.  In this series, we are discussing ways to create and maintain order in the classroom (or with your small group of kids) as well as ways to prevent disruptive behavior.   If you missed the previous posts, you can find them here:

Today, we’ll be discussing the importance of procedures in the classroom.  If you have not yet done so, I would highly recommend reading The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher.  Much of this post stems from my reading that book.

Questions to Consider When Developing Procedures

Procedures are the key to classroom management.  Procedures and routines organize the classroom so that activities run smoothly and stress free.  Procedures clearly define (and demonstrate) what behavior is expected and accepted when it comes to routine classroom actions such as entering the classroom, sharpening a pencil, asking and a question and so forth.

Before you begin designing and implementing procedures for your class, take a few weeks to identify the biggest distractions and problems for your teaching time.  For example, kids asking to use the bathroom and get a drink were a major distraction in my class at one point.  Not only did it interrupt the flow of teaching, it caused a chain reaction – making every child in the room acutely aware of their full bladder and scratchy throat.  I’m sure you can relate.  Now, we have a designated time to use the facilities.   For our Wednesday night program, it is between the first small group time and large group (lesson time).  For Sunday, it is before they enter the classroom.

Lining up for Children's Church

What about when kids enter your classroom?  Are the first 5 minutes chaotic?  Plan an easy activity for kids to do at their seats before you get started.  Restaurants use this tactic when they give kids crayons and coloring sheet upon arrival.

What about when class is over?  Is dismissal a nightmare?  Create a procedure for how kids should act at the end of class until parents arrive to pick them up.  Remember, it’s not enough to create a procedure and explain it to the class.  You must practice, practice, practice.  Even if you end up spending half a class practicing arrival and departure, this is not a waste of time!  It will create expectation of order and will save you countless headaches in the future.

You probably know what procedures your classroom would benefit from the most, but in case you need some ideas to get you started, check out these resources:

What About You?

What procedures do you have in the classroom?  I’d love to hear about them!