Classroom routines are the backbones of our classrooms. Without them, we would all be riding the hot mess express (even though we sometimes get a first-class ticket, regardless!).
Establishing classroom routines help students know what to expect and do each day, but they are also a tool for effective classroom management. Having daily routines helps us maximize the time we spend on instruction, leading to a more successful classroom environment.
Ideally, our classroom routines should allow for students to self-regulate and reset. They also should always include activities that promote engaging and meaningful ongoing learning - after all, we're teaching much more than just curriculum content. Finally, classroom routines should be happening consistently. When students have a consistent routine, we see a decline in disruptive behaviour because our students have an understanding of what is expected, creating a smooth classroom flow.
Establishing a routine starts as soon as the day begins. It helps students understand what to do, where to go and what comes next. It also helps make the start of the day less chaotic! My biggest new teacher tip for classroom routines is to review classroom expectations with your students as often as possible - more reminders = more practice & understanding.
Here is a list of ideas of simple morning routines that your French students will love:
Problem of the day
Video of the day
Picture of the day
Expression of the day
Cahier du matin
POST RECESS ROUTINES
Similar to the morning, establishing afternoon or post-recess routines helps keep your day flowing smoothly. These routines are just as important as your morning routines! Remember to model and let students know what is expected of them during each part of the day, as different expectations are paired with different parts of the day. For instance, you may allow partner work during free writing, while reflection journaling is meant to be done quietly. The key is to do what works best for your students and for your classroom and continue to communicate those expectations to your students.
Here are some ideas for post-recess routines:
The end is near! We all know that feeling that the last ten minutes of the day brings - a sweet mix of joy and chaos. One of my favourite routines is closing out the day, with a focus on ending each day on a positive note. Think of it as a time to come together and reflect on the day and prepare for the next one with a positive attitude.
Here are a few ideas for end-of-the-day routines:
Favourite part of/a highlight from the day
Group game (storytelling)
Sharing opportunities (jokes, pets, favourite food, etc.)
Goals for tomorrow
LET'S TALK ABOUT INTERRUPTIONS
Surprises happen, and it is likely that at some point throughout your career that your routines will be interrupted by unexpected events. Prior to expected interruptions like fire drills, assemblies, etc., talk to your students about what to do, where you go, where to line up, and share different what-if scenarios. Always have an easy transition activity planned for when you return to the classroom (silent reading is a great way to get your students self-regulating!).
Keep in mind that unexpected interruptions may cause some stress & anxiety for your students. These include events like lockdowns, evacuations, etc. Your students will likely need more support after these unexpected events to fall back into routines, and it is important that you are checking in to make sure they're okay.
Here are some ideas for how to deal with interruptions to help your students get back on track with your business as usual routine schedule:
Depending on your class, a mental health check-in is an option
Calming/Mindfulness activities are also suggested
Consider contacting parents if you notice students are struggling
When you have a consistent routine in your classroom, it helps students to feel safe, but also it's critical for classroom management. As a new teacher, you'll be working hard to establish your classroom routines and boundaries, so it is critical that you start explicitly teaching, reminding and practicing classroom routines right from the beginning of the year to set the tone!
Are you a new teacher looking to learn more about classroom management and routines? Check out my flagship course, Creating Confident Classrooms and learn how you can kickstart your classroom for September.