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5 Helpful Tips for Teaching Classroom Procedures

One of the most important parts of a successful school year is to help students learn and understand classroom procedures.  The most effective teachers typically have one thing in common: They set aside time at the very beginning of the year to teach and practice rules, procedures, and routines. When you do the same, you’ll find yourself spending less time managing students so that you have more time to teach them.  In this post, I’m going to share five tips for teaching classroom procedures at the beginning of the year.

5 Helpful Tips for Teaching Classroom Procedures - Advice for Elementary Teachers

5 Tips for Teaching Classroom Procedures

1. Prioritize

When there are so many procedures to teach your students at the beginning of the year, it’s essential to prioritize! Decide which procedures are necessary for the first day of school and which can wait.  You might even decide that some procedures can wait until the second week of school once your class has found its rhythm.

2. Use a Checklist

As you prioritize the classroom procedures you’d like to teach, jot them down and create a checklist! You’ll find that this checklist is a must-have during the first weeks of school! Some routines and procedures can’t be practiced until you need them, so keeping track of which routines have or haven’t been introduced is important.  If you make it to the end of the week and notice that some important procedures aren't checked off, you might want to create an opportunity to introduce and practice them.

Check out this post about the first week of school, where I share a helpful checklist for teaching classroom procedures at the beginning of the school year. The same resource includes a sample lesson plan that gives examples of when and how to practice certain procedures.

3. Practice

As teachers, we know that students learn best by doing.  This is especially true of learning classroom routines and procedures! Students who are more engaged will be more likely to remember and use the skills you have taught them. With that in mind, I wanted to share a few fun ways to practice classroom procedures. 

Trial Run

You can practice some procedures, like lining up, using trial runs.  This allows you to take whatever time you need to practice routines within your classroom. You can ensure that students have been able to repeat the procedure in an expected way. With trial runs, you don't have to worry about being late for lunch or missing recess when you're trying a procedure for the first time.

Time Trial

A fun way to practice procedures like putting textbooks back on the shelf is with time trials.  Keep track of how long it takes your class to complete the task and write the time on the board.  You can try it again immediately or wait until you repeat the procedure the next day. Students love to work together to see how much time they can shave off classroom routines!  The other benefit is that it gives you a better idea of how much time certain tasks will take your class. This is helpful for lesson planning at the beginning of the year!

Example and Non-Example

Sometimes it’s not feasible to have the entire class try out a routine, such as pencil sharpener etiquette.  This is when it’s great to use examples and non-examples.  You can have one student demonstrate the procedure in an unexpected way and then follow it up with the correct procedure.  Students love to watch the teacher demonstrate non-examples and point out what should be done differently. 

Pencil and daily procedures cards

Scenario Cards

If you’re looking for a fun way to really ensure that your students understand your classroom rules and procedures, try scenario cards!  Use hypothetical scenarios that require your students to draw on their knowledge of the different procedures they have learned. This is a great activity to encourage participation and build community at the beginning of the year!

4. Use Review Worksheets to Practice Academic Procedures

Don’t forget your academic procedures at the beginning of the school year!  Students need plenty of time to practice pair share, bell work, centers, working in small groups, and more!  During the first week of school, practicing these procedures using review worksheets is best!

A completed would you rather worksheet

When students are learning and practicing a new procedure, such as pair share, they are more likely to participate fully if they feel confident and comfortable with the literacy or math concepts in the activity.  If students have too challenging work, their attention will be on the work itself instead of the procedure that you want them to practice. 

A completed cut and paste worksheet for reviewing solids

Do you want your students to practice the different procedures involved in independent work time? Then you'll want to choose learning activities that truly allow them to work independently. 

5. Revisit and Review as Needed

One of the most important parts of teaching classroom procedures is revisiting and reviewing them whenever necessary.  There will be times when you need to remind your students of the classroom rules, routines, and procedures.  Review classroom procedures whenever necessary, whether it’s the first day of school or late in January! This can improve student behavior and create a positive learning environment.

Resource for Teaching Classroom Procedures

If you are a third-grade teacher practicing academic procedures in your classroom, be sure to check out this back-to-school resource!  This product is a fun and engaging review of skills that your students learned the year before. 

Three back-to-school review worksheets for third grade

These printable review worksheets are perfect for practicing classroom procedures. If you are teaching your students to call to attention, partner share, use speaking frames, use a review worksheet while practicing. You can even practice where to store unfinished work. This resource can help you keep your class quietly engaged in their seats, which is important when you are administering individual back-to-school assessments.


Back to School 3rd Grade – ELA, Writing, and Math

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Back to School 2nd Grade – ELA, Writing, and Math

*Get 10% on my website's shop – use the code SAVE10

Save These Tips for Teaching Classroom Procedures

I hope you’ve found a tip or two that will help you teach important procedures in your classroom.  Be sure to add this pin to your favorite teaching board on Pinterest.  You’ll be able to easily return to these tips for teaching classroom procedures whenever you need them!

5 Tips for Teaching Classroom Procedures

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