One of the keys to running a classroom is good management. If you don’t have a plan for your classroom procedures, it’s time to get one in place. Whatever point in time it is in the school year, there’s still time to implement a classroom plan.
It gets a little difficult when you ask a group of students a question and instead of giving an answer, they ask to go to the restroom. Even after having numerous conversations about when it’s an appropriate time to use the restroom, they still don’t get it. One of the best bathroom procedures is quite simple. Students are able to use the restroom anytime a class isn’t in session. There is a pass for boys and the other for girls. If the pass is there and there isn’t a class, then the student can use the restroom.
Hand signals are an easy, quick way for students to communicate their needs without disrupting the entire class. An example of this is students hold up one finger when they need to use the restroom, 2 fingers when they need a drink, and 3 fingers when they have an emergency. This is the only time students can use the restroom when when a class is in session. You have to be careful with this one though because students will take advantage of the “emergency”.
You need to decide how students will come into the classroom in the morning and what the procedure will be for things like attendance, lunch count, and turning in homework. In some classrooms, students hang up their backpack, move their name tag to either cold or hot lunch, and get started on their morning work right away. This makes activities like taking attendance easier. Whatever routine you decide is best for your classroom, make sure it’s the same every day.
When students are finished with their work, it’s important to have something for them to do, and busy work shouldn’t be at the top of the list. Having a classwork folder with students’ unfinished work they can go back to is a great way to keep early finishers busy, but sometimes that’s not enough. Give students a few options if they finish early. Read a book, write a story or journal entry, or help a fellow student.
Giving students classroom jobs not only holds them accountable and makes them feel responsible for their classroom, but it can also take a few things off your plate. Think about little tasks around your classroom that you can designate to your students.
Having a procedure for desk or table organization is very important. It keeps students organized and the teacher happy. Decide which items are necessary for students to keep in their desk and which items are not.
A designated place for students to place their work will help keep organized. Organize a system that will help you keep track of student work and will be simple for students to follow.