Reaping the Benefits of Classroom Routines

Although young kids might try to tell you otherwise, they really thrive when predictable structure is part of their school days. For teachers, a well-planned schedule can mean the difference between a rough day and a great day. Whether you’re an elementary teacher who remains with the same students all day, or a high school teacher whose students switch with every bell, finding an effective routine for both teacher and students is vital to classroom success.

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The beginning of a school year or academic semester is a natural time to implement classroom routines. However, if you find yourself raising your voice too often or losing valuable teaching time due to constant distractions, it’s never a bad time to establish a new routine. Keep in mind, though, that a new routine can’t simply be announced to students, but must be taught and practiced to truly become a habit.

While teacher sanity is one major benefit of daily routines, there are countless other educational perks, including increased student engagement. Students that come to class knowing what to expect (and what is expected of them) are better able to focus on the tasks at hand, and less likely to create distractions that fall outside of the classroom routine. Routines also save valuable instruction time by alleviating the need for teachers to set new expectations for every class period. For instance, when students know they will spend the first 10 minutes of the period responding to a writing prompt from the board, the often-hectic and time-consuming class transition (full of questions and instructions) can be avoided altogether.

If your classroom could benefit from a revised routine, there are many great resources on the web to guide you. To get started on the right foot, Scholastic’s best practices from real teachers offers great suggestions and support. What routines do you find most effective in your classroom?