Design classroom procedures [P-6]

Common areas of classroom inefficiency, and strategies to address them

Select the level that is appropriate to you.

Elementary

Coming and going
  • Entering the Room
  • Bathroom & Water Fountain
  • Hallway Passes
  • Dismissal/ Exiting Classroom
  • Hallways and Stairs
  • Moving to Groups/Centers
Managing materials
  • Managing Books/Materials
  • Students without Pens/Pencils
  • Managing Homework/Paper
  • Tests and Quizzes
  • Pencil Sharpener, Tissue, Trash
  • Coats, Bags, Lunches
Student communication
  • Getting Whole Class Attention
  • Students Getting Our Attention
  • Students Speaking in Class
  • Managing Cooperative Groups
  • Managing Cooperative Groups
  • Managing Centers
Potential "dead time"
  • Absent or Tardy Students
  • New Students
  • Attendance and Lunch Count
  • Students Who Finish Early
  • Unplanned Interruptions

Secondary

Coming and going
  • Entering the Room
  • Bathroom & Water Fountain
  • Hallway Passes
  • Dismissal/ Exiting Classroom
  • Hallways and Stairs
  • Moving to Groups/Centers
Managing materials
  • Managing Books/Materials
  • Students without Pens/Pencils
  • Managing Homework/Paper
  • Tests and Quizzes
  • Pencil Sharpener, Tissue, Trash
  • Coats, Bags, Lunches
Student communication
  • Getting Whole Class Attention
  • Students Getting Our Attention
  • Students Speaking in Class
  • Managing Cooperative Groups
  • Managing Cooperative Groups
  • Managing Centers
Potential "dead time"
  • Absent or Tardy Students
  • New Students
  • Attendance and Lunch Count
  • Students Who Finish Early
  • Unplanned Interruptions
  • detailed descriptions
  • Develop a lesson plan to teach your procedures

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.

Explanation

Procedures are intended to make your life easier; if a procedure takes up a lot of your time in implementation and upkeep (after you’ve taught it), it is not doing its job. If you constantly have to monitor the daily homework collection, then the process you’ve chosen isn’t making life easier or saving you any time. Oftentimes, when first designing procedures, it can be challenging to envision the actual impact these procedures will have.

Solution

When planning your procedures, keep the end goal in mind: minimizing wasted time in the classroom in order to create more instructional time. If you design a procedure that appears to be overly-complex and involves many steps – chances are this procedure won’t help you meet your end goal. Additionally, a few weeks after you first implement your procedures, you can use a timer to re-evaluate whether they are in fact minimizing wasted time. Are your procedures running smoothly at this time? Are you still spending time explaining your procedures? If so – it may be time to design new procedures.

Explanation

Procedures detail specific behaviors for specific circumstances, while rules are general standards of conduct and should apply to student behavior in all classroom situations, regardless of the activity. When first creating a classroom management plan that maps out both rules and procedures, the line between these two can be quite blurry. If you don’t keep rules and procedures separate, you could end up with a list of 25-30 classroom rules.

Solution

Keep in mind that you will want to limit your list of classroom rules, short and sweet—ideally, a list of three to five rules that can be applied to just about any kind of misbehavior that may occur in your class. Your procedures, on the other hand, will likely be more numerous and detailed. When designing your procedures, focus on what you want students to do, step-by-step, in specific, re-occurring circumstances. Furthermore, be sure to only assign behavioral consequences to students for not meeting behavioral expectations. If a student does not effectively execute a procedure, and the reason is that s/he does not know the procedure well enough (i.e., the student is not deliberately and knowingly misbehaving), then the “consequence” you should assign is to require the student to repeat the procedure correctly.

Explanation

Be sure that the procedures you are planning for your students are developmentally appropriate. Kindergarteners might be expected to put their homework in one basket, and you can later sort it and check off complete or incomplete. In 5th grade, however, students might collect and sort the homework themselves, as well as mark for your records if it is complete or incomplete. This can be a significant challenge for teachers who lack experience with the grade level they are teaching.

Solution

Speak with your grade-level colleagues about what types of procedures are developmentally appropriate for my students. Don’t be afraid to challenge your students to take on more responsibility when executing procedures, but be wary of pushing too far to the point that the procedures no longer save time. Remember that you can always adjust up or down the complexity of your procedures, based on in-the-moment evaluation of their effectiveness.