Class Routines–a list of 40 things to consider

Classroom Routines

As you prepare for a new school year, or even for your very first class, you will probably find lots of advice telling you how important routines are. Add this post to the list! In my opinion, class routines are THE most important part of teaching because they help your class run smoothly. And if your class doesn’t run smoothly, it doesn’t matter how much time you’ve spent planning lessons or how cute your bulletin boards are.

You must teach routines explicitly, and to do that you must know how you want things to run. 

Students, unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?), are not mind readers, so it is important that you teach students the routines explicitly. Before you teach the routines to students, it is important that you have put thought into how you want things to run. You can get tons of ideas online and from fellow teachers, but ultimately when the bell rings, you are in charge of your class, and you will want things to run your way. Be sure to spend time thinking through the routines and determining how you want each to go.

What routines and policies do I teach?

Here are the ones that are important to me:

  1. Raising hands
  2. Turning in papers
  3. Sharpening pencils
  4. Bathroom procedures
  5. Snacks
  6. Lining up
  7. Fire drill
  8. Working in groups
  9. Going to the nurse
  10. If you have to answer the phone
  11. Entering the classroom
  12. Getting water
  13. Packing up
  14. Writing down homework
  15. Turning in homework
  16. Turning in papers
  17. Passing out papers
  18. Returning forms
  19. Classroom library
  20. Getting a tissue
  21. Taking attendance
  22. Throwing away trash
  23. Answering the door to visitors
  24. Attendance
  25. Working in groups
  26. Working independently
  27. Absent students
  28. Walking in the hallway
  29. Using classroom supplies
  30. Getting “sick”
  31. Lunch count
  32. Transportation
  33. Dismissal
  34. Late work
  35. Test behavior
  36. Storing backpacks
  37. Organizing school supplies
  38. Organizing desks
  39. Toys in class
  40. Candy or gum

Here’s a free printable list if you want something to check and cross out! Feel free to share with your teacher friends and new teachers!

Classroom Routines for teachers

Some tips:

Don’t teach them all at once! 

While it is important to teach routines and procedures the first day or school, it is not a good idea to sit students down and go over this list one by one. Pick out the most important ones like bathroom and hand-raising policy to teach first. Many of them, you can teach as they are needed. For instance, 30 minutes before lunch, you may go over lunch procedures and then practice lining up.

It’s ok to make changes!

As your year goes along, if you realize a certain routine isn’t working, it’s ok to tweak things. Be honest with your students, tell them it isn’t working, and then introduce and practice the new way. Don’t feel like you have to be stuck with one way of doing things just because that’s what you taught them on the first day of school.

class routines fb


Introducing a new survey!

I was so thrilled with how the Summer STEM survey went that I thought I would try a new survey. This time, I want to know all of your classroom management questions. What can I post about or research or share to help you manage your classroom? What would you love to know more about but don’t have time to search to the ends of the Internet for? I would love to know how I can support you! If you have a few minutes, please take the short survey by clicking the image below:

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 9.18.40 AMHappy Teaching!


PS–I would be ever so honored if you signed up for my new daily creative thinking ideas for teachers emails! I deliver a quick, creative idea that you can use in your classroom right away to your inbox first thing every weekday morning. Your students will love the fun, random holidays!


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