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Establishing classroom routines

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by aprilsmith92, Mar 1, 2019.

  1. aprilsmith92

    aprilsmith92 New commenter

    I'm a trainee teacher and thinking of the best to organise my classes at the beginning and end of my lessons as currently, it seems a bit chaotic! The general routine across the school is that books are spread out on a couple of tables at the front of the room as teachers keep all exercise books in boxes (the pupils are generally not allowed to take their books home as they often forget them).

    Pupils are lined up outside the classroom before entering, and I greet the pupils as they come in. However the process of then having to find their books and get to their seats is too noisy and chaotic and doesn't help in settling the pupils quickly and quietly.

    I'm currently at my B placement (grammar school) and like their routine of standing behind their chairs with their equipment out and then the pupils sit down when the teacher is ready to start the lesson. Anybody who is late can then be easily identified. I was thinking I could ask a couple of pupils to hand out books but am concerned that this would take too long and pupils already take a while to write the date and title as it is. Those who then don't receive their book first may become distracted.

    Is anyone else in the same situation with giving out books, or does anyone have any ideas?

    Thanks in advance!
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    If you have time, you could place the books on the students' desks before they come in. That,however, will create more work for you.

    If you have a couple of students give out books, that should only take a minute if they are efficient at doing it.
    freckle06 likes this.
  3. fiftyfive95

    fiftyfive95 New commenter

    With my problem class last year (as a trainee too) I was trained/coached into handing everything out on the desks beforehand, you should have the time to do this if you're on a trainee timetabled. I was also coached into standing at the door when they come in (a strategy called threshold by doug lemov).

    You could also try, Do It Again, also a doug lemov strategy, in which if they don't enter the way you would like, you literally take them out and make them do it again, and again, and again until they get the idea. Seen a senior leader use this on a year 8 set 3 class so do not see it as a strategy of weakness.
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi fiftyfive95

    Having everything out on a desk is such a useful strategy since when the students enter, they get a feel that the teacher is organised and therefore in charge. Also, if the materials are on the desk, the students can get started right away therefore occupying their minds and focus. Then the teacher has time to take the register and organise any late comers or other pressing issues. As you say, on a trainee timetable there will be time to set everything out, but sometimes on full time tables there won't be time to set materials out between classes. I have, however, on occasion handed worksheets/booklets out to students as they enter.

    I always try to greet students at the door when I am able to ( I work as a supply teacher) and say good morning or whatever the time greeting is. It is also a way to ensure students do not enter with food in their hands, mobile phones on, or uniform issues.

    One of the biggest distractions and disruptions at the start of lessons can be the ones who are late.

    So setting up a routine to deal with later comers is essential. For instance, there could be a system whereby if a student enters late, they come in silently take their seat without disrupting you if they have started. At a convenient time, then the teacher speaks to the student to find out why they are late. If they do not have a note in their planner nor a reasonable explanation then issue a detention after the first time they are late.

    If the lateness is not addressed then the students will do it again and again and it causes massive disruption.
  5. timdeehan

    timdeehan New commenter

    Definitely, it sends all the right messages to the kids and gives you time to tackled the small but disruptive things at the beginning which sets the tone for the rest of the hour
  6. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    Hello @aprilsmith92 and good luck with your training. How are you finding it so far?

    It is a great idea to focus on the beginning and end of lessons to set the appropriate tone for behaviour expectations.

    Although I agree that setting the tables up before the students enter the room works best, in reality it often isn't possible. Even with a trainee timetable, I expect that the room will be in use prior to the lesson you are teaching. You can do this for classes after break or lunch but it will also be useful to have strategies for your longer term teaching when you might find yourself on a full timetable, moving around the school unable to arrive ahead of the students and inevitably, waiting for other teachers to finish up.

    Absolutely have the students line up outside the room. Greet them at the door - this is so important - use their names and smile and say hello. Send to the back of the queue those who are in incorrect uniform/talking/chewing etc and try to encourage them to sort out those sorts of annoyances themselves before entering. This will help to show you're in control and on top of them.

    Handing out slips with starter/do now activities is one good way of engaging students immediately and preventing wasted time or slipping in to chatting whilst they wait for instructions. They can get out their own equipment and then start on this straight away. As they come in you can designate a couple of students to hand out the books. Give them credits if necessary if they aren't keen/this isn't the way it is done in the school in general. Try not to pick the same kids all the time unless you have a few helpful ones who just want to do it! Alternatively, make a rota and display it on the wall.

    However, it's not always practical (or environmentally friendly) to have these slips ready so I think the best strategy is actually to have a slide template - I make one per day with a slide for each of my classes that day in the correct order so I can quickly locate it as soon as I have logged on (You might find once you're qualified that you're looking through enormous shared drives to locate powerpoints/IWB slides etc so save your starter slides somewhere separate) - which includes:
    - date
    -objective(s) if your school still displays these. Who knows where we're at with that!
    - DO NOW activity (A question to think about, literacy or numeracy activity related to their topic, a Wordle to ponder and select three key words to discuss, an anagram to decipher, image to write three questions about etc)
    - box to the side with any relevant reminders e.g. HW due
    - box with student names responsible that day for handing out and collecting books/equipment
    - optional box you could use to praise students who did well last lesson/feature a key point of learning from last lesson/a quote from your marking/an example of good work etc

    Get the students used to looking at this slide and being proactive. It won't take long to update this slide once you've got the template and you can pop in to the room, get it on the board then come to the door to greet and allow students inside. Then freeze the screen and do the register etc.

    For the end of lessons, allow enough time to get things packed away so that the room is not left in a mess. The same students (on the board) should collect the books in and put them back in the box or cupboard- try to get in to habits where students don't expect you to do everything as it helps create a team atmosphere and build respect. Otherwise you will find kids just leaving books lying around, expecting you to pick them up and you simply don't have time, nor should you do this. They should then stand behind their chairs and wait to be dismissed. Ideally ask a few plenary question, discuss something with the students - you could have an extra slide with current affairs/interesting hypothetical questions etc on which you use for those final minutes. With nice classes, it can be a chance to ask them about other things they do/get to know them etc but this might be more appropriate when you're getting established in your job next year.

    Avoid them gathering by the door. Insist they stand behind their own chairs as it avoids anyone sneaking out/students winding each other up or calling out into the corridor.

    When really pushed for time, www.formtimeideas.com has been a quick display option as it changes daily and the kids often find something they want to answer.

    Hope this helps and good luck nailing those routines.
    Catsoup and aprilsmith92 like this.
  7. aprilsmith92

    aprilsmith92 New commenter

    I try to do this for lessons I have first thing, or after break or lunch but it's not possible otherwise as there isn't a changeover period. Thank you, hopefully they will get faster at giving out books if I stick to that routine!
    pepper5 likes this.
  8. aprilsmith92

    aprilsmith92 New commenter

    It's sometimes possible to have things on desks as they come in but very dependent on whether there is a lesson before mine or not (as I move around classrooms at the moment, and there is no changeover period). I do stand at the door but will definitely try the 're-entering' strategy. That sounds like a good idea. Would you then make them make up the time at break/lunch? Because I feel some of my classes would enjoy 'wasting' a whole lesson practising coming into the lesson properly.
    pepper5 likes this.
  9. aprilsmith92

    aprilsmith92 New commenter

  10. aprilsmith92

    aprilsmith92 New commenter

    Thank you so much for such a detailed response, that's all really helpful! Training is good so far thank you - lots to learn and lots to keep on top of but i'm loving it so far which can only be a good sign.

    I think a rota of pupils to give out the books is a great idea. I do have some keen students in some of my classes so could stick to the same ones, but in others a rota would work best. It's going to be much nicer starting fresh in September when I can establish my own classroom rules and expectations rather than trying to change things in classes I share with someone else currently. Obviously I do have my own expectations currently, but I feel classroom routines really need to be done from the beginning.

    You make a great point about leaving the classroom - this is definitely an issue and it's always a bit chaotic. I do find myself clearing up after my classes which isn't ideal. I also find students are hassling me for achievement prizes (points system) and other things at the end of the lesson. I'm tempted to designate a day to deal with things like that so that it doesn't disrupt every lesson.
    pepper5 likes this.
  11. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    You're absolutely right that it is beneficial to start with a class in September and to feel you have more ownership over the routines and expectations. Those things can be tricky to navigate during training.

    Regarding positive points - You could try adding the names of deserving students to your starter slide to be displayed at the start of their next class. Tell them verbally what it is for at the time (and note the names so you remember) but explain that you'll add them to the system at your own convenience. With any system, if you explain it and then do it consistently, the majority of kids will get it and start to behave as you want them to.
    pepper5 likes this.

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