Life inside the classroom.

Routines and Procedures in the Elementary Classroom

What are they?

Routines and procedures are the expectations and practices the teacher has in place to proceed throughout the day. They are the way students will engage and interact with others, move around the room, express needs, and behave in the classroom. Routines and procedures will create the environment and setting that the teacher wants to execute.

Why are they important?

Think of routines and procedures like a foundation to your home. If the foundation is well planned out, precisely executed and routinely inspected, the home will be standing far into the future, even when a natural disaster hits. However, have a faulty, unstable foundation, and the smallest inconvenience can bring down the whole home, or classroom in this case.

How do you set them up?

The best time to throughly set up routines and procedures are at the beginning of the year. You can also set them up when you are introducing a new item or activity, and after an extended break. Do not rush this process. You can start by modeling it yourself, then get a student / group of students to model it and expand out from there. Another way you can model is through a wrong way example and have the students say why it was not right. Take your time even if it takes 25 times to truly get it right.

“Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, fast is effective and efficient”

Navy SEAL saying

When you are done executing the routine or procedure, another key component is to reflect on how everyone did. What were their strengths and where is there room for improvements? I like to call this “Glows and Grows”

Example: Lining up

You want your students to wait at their seat to till their table is excused then walk quietly to the door and line up.

  1. Giving yourself enough time, Introduce this new routine “it is time to go to lunch, before we go I want to practice how we will line up. Please stay seated till I call your table then you will walk to the door quietly”
  2. Model the behavior, use anti-models if you would like as well. This might include running, talking with another student, and being silly.
  3. Have a table go first to model the proper way for the class.
  4. Excuse the rest of the class.
  5. Reflect, make this fun, have the students rate it on a scale of one to five. Have stars and color in how you felt it went. Ask the student’s to tell you how it went. Repeat steps as deemed necessary.

Routines and Procedures Checklist


Now that you know the importance of routines and procedures I have compiled a digital checklist for you organized by location and filled with procedures I have in-place in my classroom. Make a copy and edit it as you see fit. Comment below if you try these out and if this helps you in your next year. ENJOY (:

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