Rules and Procedures
Sometimes it can be a little difficult to find a good classroom management plan, but with time, it can be done easily. There will come a time when even parents are amazed at their child’s behavior compared to how they behave at home. Pre-K and Kindergarten students are very young and need a lot of structure, consistency and patience. They are also VERY capable of learning. The one way to take advantage of every learning opportunity is by establishing rules and procedures. These little ones do not come to school knowing what you want them to do or how to do it. You need to STATE your EXPECTATIONS and practice, practice, practice rules and procedures for several weeks. This will ensure that you have a wonderful school year and a classroom full of children who are ready to learn.
Classroom Management and consistency are the key to a successful school year. Students must have clear expectations of rules, daily routines and center and material use in the classroom. This provides an environment of organization and calmness. Otherwise the students will feel lost and you will become frustrated with behavior problems.
Examples of rules and procedures:
Procedures begin the moment the student arrives to your classroom in the morning. It is ideal to display your procedures with visuals so that students always know what to do before and after they walk in.
Many teachers run around trying to get students ready for dismissal at the last minute. Dismissal procedures take time. Make sure to work it into your schedule. You have to wrap up your lesson, students need to turn in their work, everyone has to clean up and put things back where they belong and chairs need to be stacked. After that students need to gather on the carpet area quietly, teachers hand out daily folders, notes and homework while the teacher helpers bring backpacks in to each student. Finally students put all their materials in their backpacks and wait to be called to line up. Implementing procedures will make the difference between last minute chaos an loud students and organized dismissal with students ready to walk out of the classroom quietly and in an orderly manner.
The hallway is a place where student’s behavior reflects the teacher’s classroom management skills. Teachers who take the time to introduce and practice rules and procedures the first few weeks of school have a much orderly classroom than those teachers who expect good behavior without spending the time to practice, practice, practice.
Here’s a good tip: Always walk at the end of the line to monitor student behavior. How many times have you seen a teacher walking ahead of the students? Students are not keeping up because they are too distracted by talking, playing around, touching everything on the walls and fighting. Whether you decide to walk in front or behind your class, always monitor and redirect hallway behavior. It feels good when fellow teachers and administrators compliment your classroom in the hallway!
The main reason that you need to implement Restroom Procedures is so that students do not adopt the restroom as the hanging out with friends place. When more than one student goes to the restroom at the same time, students start playing around and losing out on learning time. Students will quickly learn that they can go the restroom to get out of learning and classroom work. The one student at a time procedure will eliminate these distractions. – Teachers, please always make sure that your students wash their hands after using the restroom. These germs can end up in their mouth, on your door knob, on your pencils and crayons, in your hand shake… Yuk.
Do not forget to teach restroom procedures. Taking the time to address your expectations makes a big difference between clean restrooms and dirty, smelly ones.
Teach them these procedures and send home a note to request emergency clothes for wetting accidents. You can find my free printable at the following link to send a note home for emergency clothes. The link:
Yes. You do need rules and procedures for everything if you want your day to run smoothly. Here’s the one for drinking water in the classroom.
Lining up procedures.
I do not like to leave the classroom and come back to a messy classroom. We do not always put EVERYTHING away. When students have not finished their work, they are taught to gather their own materials and stack them neatly on the table (or on their chairs). When we come back to the classroom, everyone has their own material to continue working. This eliminates the chance of not finding their materials when the students get back.
It’s always nice for the students to greet visitors whenever they can. This will also help them learn the names of administrators since they visit our classrooms often.
Rules to keep our students safe during recess time.
Calendar time is a time for sharing and having fun by participating in these learning activities. You will see that some students are shy at first, but will come out of their shell during calendar time.
Procedures for the Meeting Area whether in the classroom or at a School Assembly.
Give Me 5
Give Me 5 is such a popular attention getter. You must always have everyone’s attention before and during a lesson. This is also a quick way of redirecting student behavior throughout the day. The teacher just says GIVE ME 5 and raises her arm up so that students can see her hand with all 5 fingers spread open. It’s a good visual for students to respond quickly and demonstrate that they are following all these 5 rules at the teacher’s request.
What do I do when I finish?
We always have students asking “What do I do when I finish my work?” Here’s a procedure that you can post for your students.
And again, students want to know and need to know what to do throughout the entire day in your classroom. Some students do not know that when they finish with one activity in a center, they just have to put their things away and choose another activity. They think that they can not make a move without your approval. Teachers should always provide a variety of material in each center and pull out the ones that you expect students to use by placing them on the table. This will ensure that students are always engaged.
You should post a sign with a list of activities that students can engage in when they finish their independent work. Here is an example.
Classroom Management Clip Chart
I like to make students feel special about themselves in kindergarten. The past 16 years, I have used a the clip chart system. It is a wonderful visual for students to know where they are throughout the day. It helps them stay on track and try a bit harder when they need to.
I always refer to their behavior in royal terms. They must be following rules, procedures and stay on track with their learning responsibilities before I address them as princess or prince. It’s amazing to see how quick they change their behavior to prove that they are worthy of their royal titles. Sometimes I say, “I am looking for a princess that is looking forward” or “I wonder which prince will finish his work on time today.” This has always worked well for me.
Everyone begins with “Ready to Learn.” Then, their clip will be moved up or down according to how well they follow rules and procedures throughout the day. I have three cards above “Ready to Learn” and 3 cards below it. I never have them move their clip down on the first warning. It just serves as a reminder. We begin to move clips down starting with the second warning. Once these students begin to demonstrate positive efforts, clips begin to go up again.
I like to use colorful clothespins. Sometimes you can find some neon colored ones at the Dollar Store. Here are some in primary colors that you might also be able to find in your local stores like Wal-Mart or Target. Just use a sharpie to label them on both sides. I place the boys’ pins on the left side and the girls’ pins on the right side of the charts so that students can find their clips easier. This also makes it easy for me when I need to label both sides of the pins. Make sure that the name is not upside down when you use the opposite side of it.
I introduce parents to our behavior system at Open House. Then, I start sending the Behavior Recording Sheet home daily so that parents can praise and celebrate their child’s efforts every day. I do not like to contact parents only when there is concern about their child. Daily communication is a great way to keep them informed.
These are the charts that I use.
Here is a free recording sheet.
Your classroom can run smoothly throughout the day using these and many more procedures. The key is to practice these rules and procedures with your students throughout the year.
These are rules and procedures that work for me. What works for you?