Routines create a place of safety, consistency, and predictability from the very start of the day.
Routines are essential in creating a safe place in the classroom, as they establish order and a schedule for the day. They also establish the expectations for students. If students don’t know what is expected of them, how could we be able to expect that they behave in a certain way? If students know what is expected of them and what to expect when they enter the class, they're more open to learning and reaching their full potential.
Some of Our Routines
When students enter the classroom, they are expected to following our routine, which includes:
- Hang up their jacket.
- Unpack backpack and put it away in their cubby.
- Turn in any homework and/or notes from home.
- Make a lunch choice.
- Take a seat.
This starts off the day in the best way possible by creating an organized and safe environment.
Each day, we make time for a circle. Each circle starts with some kind of prompt (e.g. what's your favorite color and why, what did you do this weekend, what's your dream vacation and why, etc). I pick a volunteer to go first, who gets the talking ball. Whoever has the talking ball is the only one speaking and everyone else listens actively and respectfully. After the volunteer is done sharing, they pick the next volunteer, and so on.
Learn more about the benefits of circles in the video or this Edutopia article.
Want to learn more about why routines are so important? Check out this article on Harry Wong's philosophy.
We have many other routines in our classroom including how to line up (to go to lunch, recess, art, PE, music, etc.), cleaning up after art or an activity, going to the restroom, coming in after recess and lunch, what to do when they're done with their work early, and many more! For the big routines, we have posters and books to remind students of how the steps and how they should act.