Reviewing Expectations and Routines
At the beginning of the year, I spent a lot of time rehearsing routines with my students, reviewing expectations, practicing what we should and should not do throughout the day, and generally working to establish some solid foundations for what we will do each day. As a result, we had a really strong start to the year.
We review expectations every day, but I haven’t been taking time to go over the routines as often, because we do them all the time. As the end of the first semester draws near, I’ve noticed that many of the students have been getting a little loose with following the routines we’d established at the beginning of the year.
I want us to end the first semester (and the calendar year) on a high note, so we have been reviewing our beginning and end of the routines. These are the two times of day that we have the least structure in the room. At the beginning of the day, we have students coming in, making lunch choices, turning in homework or other mail, sharpening pencils, writing in journals, and trying to talk to me. There are also students asking to use the restroom, coming in late, and all sorts of miscellaneous activities. On top of all this, the class needs to be listening for our morning announcements, which include a moment of silence, the school promise and the Pledge of Allegiance. We are reviewing what the students should be doing during all this time and working on getting back to our “A” game.
Our end of the day routines are also important to restore. Students write our “Today’s Topics” in their C.O.Y.O.T.E. binders, stack chairs, clean off desks, and pick up loose items from the floor. The last three parts have gotten especially disorganised, so we spent a considerable amount of time this afternoon going over them again. We didn’t do great, so we will continue to practice until we can get back to the level of excellence that we worked so hard to establish at the start. My hope is that if we end the semester on a strong, positive note, we’ll be set to get started with the second half of the year where we left off.
It is all about not just practicing, but practicing the right way!