The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Routine, Routine, Routine

Yesterday I attended a professional development seminar specifically designed for the new teachers in the district. Despite my three years as a substitute teacher, I am still considered a new teacher and, to be honest, I am rather glad I am. The seminar was very informative and provided some incredibly useful information, particularly concerning classroom management, which is quite possibly one of the most difficult aspects of being a professional educator.

So this morning I decided to try something new with my class while also reinforcing something old. I use “Give me 5” as a way to get the students’ attention. However, this has not always been 100% effective, as there are always a few who don’t respond in the expected way. So now I announce how many I am still waiting for and wait until I have everyone giving me five. The class responded quite well, and I felt like we got settled more quickly, in general, than we have been.

I also decided to start a new routine for lining up. Instead of calling different rows at a different times, or having everyone rush the door, we now have a very set system:

  • I say, “Ready!” and everyone stands up;
  • I say, “Set!” and everyone pushes in their chairs;
  • I say, “One!” and row one lines up;
  • I say, “Two!” and row two lines up;
  • I say, “Three!” and row three lines up;
  • I say, “Four!” and row four lines up.

We timed ourselves as we did this. The first few times it took about a minute. Our goal is to be able to line up and be ready to go in under 30 seconds. Even if we don’t right away, though, the class is able to line up and be ready to go much faster than before! Routines are great; routines that work quickly and effectively are even better!


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