Classroom Procedures for Smooth Transitions
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Use Entrance and Exit Procedures Checklists
Here’s why this system works so well in my classroom:
- It removes excuses like “I forgot what I was supposed to do.”
- No one gets out of their seat to ask me questions like “What can I work on now?”
- Brand new students who are added in the middle of the year quickly catch on to our class routines.
- Students are practicing independence!
Once they follow the step by step procedures instruction, they start on our morning work assignment, then we could move on together once the morning announcements are shared on our school intercom.
Underneath the entrance checklist, I attach our exit procedures list too. For wrapping up at the end of each day, I need to quickly check my email for carline or bus changes, while students quietly pack up without my help.
Having students who are well-trained on entering and exiting the classroom allows me to be efficient with my other teacher work.
You can grab these entrance and exit checklists for FREE to use in your classroom. They can be customized to fit your students’ needs.
Grab Your Checklist HERE
Teaching Tips for Classroom Procedures
In addition to using procedures checklists for smooth transitions in my classroom, I also use these strategies:
- Have a plan ready BEFORE you begin teaching procedures to your students. Use a rule checklist like this one to get prepared.
- Model and practice transition procedures during the first weeks of school. This allows students to learn your expectations for classroom procedures during transition times.
- Use a timer or bell like this one as a signal and cue for transitions.
- Keep transitions simple! If students have to follow too many steps from one activity to the next, it will make your classroom transitions noisy and chaotic. Keep your rules simple to help students move smoothly throughout your class.
- Get classroom supplies set up and ready before each day begins. When students are waiting on you to get something set-up (like getting a PowerPoint lesson ready) they are going to find a way to entertain themselves, which will usually lead to a problem for you!
Fun Ways to Teach Classroom Procedures
Establishing classroom procedures is essential for your classroom management! Trust me, without clear routines and procedures, you will spend so much unnecessary time putting out “fires” that flare up with students.
But teaching your classroom procedures in a lecture style–with any grade level–leads to boredom and students won’t be engaged to learn your routines and expectations.
If you’re looking for fresh ideas on teaching procedures, check out this post: 10 Fun Ways to Teach Classroom Procedures
Which Classroom Procedures You Should Teach
When I first started teaching, I made a lot of assumptions about what my students would instinctively know to do. BIG MISTAKE! I didn’t realize how important it was for me to teach and model every single expectation I had for my students.
Of course, your procedures depend on how many transitions you have throughout the day in your classroom. But here just some of the things you should consider teaching for smooth transitions:
- When and how students should use the bathroom.
- What should students do what they sneeze or need to blow their nose?
- Show them how to move from one center or learning station to the next.
- Model how students should walk or line up for co-curriculars, specials, lunch, recess, etc.
- Where do you want students to line up?
- What is your pencil management system? What should students do when they break a pencil and need a sharpened one?
This is a baby list compared to the one I use in my classroom! It takes me several weeks to establish smooth running transitions and classroom procedures, but it WELL worth it.
My absolute FAVORITE resource for planning and thinking through all my classroom procedures is Harry Wong’s First Days of School.
It is packed full of ideas for classroom procedures that you didn’t even realize you needed! I use it every single school year and tweak ideas each year depending on my students.