The first few days of the school year are the perfect time to establish important back to school procedures. Your students have been out of school for three months, so they need some reminders about how to behave in a classroom. Teach and practice these 10 procedures the first week of school, and your whole year will go so much smoother!
10 Important Back to School Procedures
#1 – Morning Routine
What are your students expected to do as soon as they come into the classroom in the morning?
In my classroom students need to:
- Put their homework in the bin on the side of the room
- Put their homework folder and planner in their desks
- Hang their backpacks and coats in the closet
- Do lunch count
- Start working on morning work
I project these expectations on the board in my morning message so they don’t forget any of the steps. We practice getting everything done before announcements start at 8:50.
#2 – Bathroom/Drink
It’s inevitable that one of your students will need to use the bathroom within the first 30 minutes of the first day. Bathroom procedures are one of the first things we discuss.
In my classroom, students put a bathroom pass on their desks when they need to go to the bathroom or get a drink. This lets me know where they are, and it shows the other students if someone else is out of the classroom. Only one boy and one girl are allowed to go at one time.
#3 – Tissue
It’s shocking how quickly the tissue box can become the social center of your classroom. One student gets up to blow his nose, and soon there are four kids huddled around the tissue box having a conversation during your lesson.
I have a get it and go tissue policy. There is no standing at the tissue box. The students need to get the tissue, take it back to their seats to blow, and then throw it in the garbage can.
#4 – Pencil Sharpening
There’s nothing more annoying than the sound of the pencil sharpener in the middle of your lesson. That’s why it’s important to establish appropriate times for pencil sharpening.
My students need to have at least 2 sharpened pencils at all times. They are allowed to sharpen them in the morning before school starts and at the end of the day when they’re packed. If both pencils break during the day, they can borrow a sharpened pencil from me. It just needs to be returned at the end of the day.
#5 – Turning in Papers
When your students finish an activity, they need to know where to put it. That way, they don’t have to interrupt you 100 times a day to ask where to put things.
I have a bin on the side of my room with a section for each subject. As soon as my students finish a paper, they put it in the correct section and work on extra time activities.
#6 – Lining Up and Walking in the Hallway
Before we walk in the hallway for the first time, we take a few minutes to talk about what it should look and sound like. We practice forming a 3-S line – still, straight, and silent.
Once we enter the hallway, I have my students walk on the silver lines on the floor. That helps them stay in a straight line without walking beside someone, which cuts down on the talking.
#7 – Using the Classroom Library
You probably spent a lot of time over the summer organizing your classroom library. You don’t want your students to undo your hard work the first week of school. That’s why you need to take some time to go over procedures for your classroom library.
I have my students gather in our classroom library, and I take them on a tour of all the parts. We talk about how to choose a just right book without messing up the library shelves. When my students return a book, they put it in a “Return Box”, and my “librarians” put the books away at the end of the day.
#8 – Using Technology
My classroom is 1 to 1 with Chromebooks. On the first day of school, we go over the procedures for using them. We also make sure everyone can sign onto the devices, and we set up our classes in Google Classroom.
#9 – Fire Drills
We always have a fire drill at some point during the first week of school. I take the opportunity to show my students what to do during a fire drill at the end of the first day. I take my class outside for a quick recess, and we walk outside like we would for a fire drill. We go to our spot and stand silently for a minute. We do the same thing the second day of school to make sure we’re completely ready to follow the fire drill procedures.
#10 – End of the Day
Just like your students need a routine for the morning, they also need one for the end of the day. Getting homework written and backpacks packed quickly will lead to a smooth dismissal.
I have my students write their homework and get it stamped first. Then, they get their mail and backpacks. Once everything is packed, they sit quietly until we are all ready. We see how quickly and quietly everyone can get packed. If they’re able to do it with a minute or two to spare, we play a quick game.
I try to spread out the introduction of procedures over the first few days of school. I don’t want to bombard my students with everything at the same time. Check out some of the other activities I do the first week of school.
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What Do You Think?
What do you think are the most important procedures to establish the first day of school?
Let me know in the comments below.
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