Implement and practice time-saving procedures [E-5]

Clearly communicate procedures and their purpose

  • Explain the purpose: saving instructional time
  • Demonstrate the correct process
  • Require each student to practice
  • Require each student to demonstrate understanding of the procedures
  • Re-teach key steps as needed

Read more about clearly communicating procedures and their purpose

Reinforce procedures as needed

Want to see a comprehensive list of procedures? Visit the P-6 page!

  • Anticipate procedural breakdowns
  • Reiterate purpose: saving time
  • Provide positive reinforcement
  • Respond to breakdowns

Illustrations are grouped by the proficiency that they best bring to life.

We would like to communicate our deep appreciation to these teachers who are allowing us to learn from their experiences.


Especially early in the school year, it can be tempting for teachers to want to jump immediately into content-based instruction, and not spend quality time communicating expectations for procedures.


Students must practice something at the level of perfection in order to maintain perfection and make it automatic. Fight the impulse that assumes students will master things after being told (or practicing) once. If you only explain something once to students, you should only expect to see it done once.


As the school year progresses, many teachers find themselves relaxing their expectations for students’ execution of procedures, and ceasing to commit the necessary energy to keep procedures at a high-functioning level. This relaxation is experienced by first year and veteran teachers alike, and can result in the loss of precious instructional time.


It’s important that you consistently monitor the amount of energy you exert in maintaining your procedural systems. To combat the breakdown of procedures, use a stop watch to time students during the execution of procedures early in the fall, and then continue to time students at regular intervals throughout the year. Challenge students to continue to beat their fastest times. To re-energize your own commitment to procedural precision, remind yourself that as each month passes, the total amount of available instructional time diminishes – making it that much more important to maximize each minute that remains.


It can be easy for first year teachers to get caught in the trap of equating an orderly, tightly-run classroom with excellent teaching. Rather, an orderly, tightly-run classroom (a tight ship) is important only in that it creates additional instructional time, and can therefore facilitate increased student learning. In and of itself, a tightly-run classroom is not enough.


You should always check your motivation when responding to breaches in procedure implementation. What is the ultimate goal of the feedback you are providing students? If you find yourself sliding backwards into cracking down on procedures for the sole sake of creating a “tight ship” – you need to reorient yourself to the ultimate purpose of executing strong procedures: creating additional instructional time.