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Uncategorized   |   Oct 7, 2011

Routines and Procedures

By Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Routines and Procedures

By Angela Watson

What’s Here

Establishing predictable routines is a critical part of classroom management because routines form the framework for instruction.  This page will provide you with resources for creating daily routines and teaching them to students. You’ll learn how to set, model, practice, and reinforce your expectations for any and every procedure you’d like kids to follow.

Pages in This Section


Cornerstone Cross-Reference


Find even MORE info about routines and procedures in The Cornerstone book and eBook! Book-exclusive content includes:

Ch. 9: How to Teach ANY Procedure

Ch. 10: Predictable Daily Routines

  • Establishing Morning Work procedures and choosing appropriate assignments
  • Tips for transitioning back into academics after lunch and special classes: training students to go directly to their seats, look at the board for assignments, or wait quietly for directions
  • Ideas for structuring the end of the school day, tracking which students have been dismissed, and getting kids to be SILENT during bus call announcements (it IS possible!)

Ch. 11: Tips and Tricks for Difficult Procedures

  • Don’t deny bathroom permission, but don’t allow kids to take advantage of you, either–it’s simpler than you think!
  • How to handle bathroom requests when it’s not feasible for kids to go (i.e. assemblies, recess)
  • No more thirsty kids constantly trying to get drinks–tips and tricks for letting kids keep water bottles on their desks
  • 3 different methods for distributing materials to students: teach your class to use one or all of them
  • Detailed instructions for inexpensively obtaining and using ‘mailboxes’ for kids’ to-go-home papers

Ch. 12: Student Responsibility and Organization

  • Strategies for teaching kids how to organize the supplies they keep in their desks
  • Showing students how to keep a set number of pencils in their desks and having a consistent procedure for them to be sharpened
  • Establishing routines for cleaning up and rewards/consequences for when students do or don’t meet your expectations
  • How to give students the responsibility of keeping the class running smoothly through a genuinely useful class job/helper system

Ch. 13: Teaching Work Habits

  • The little-known secret to getting kids to stop talking the second you open you mouth
  • How to respectfully and firmly handle interruptions
  • Establishing your expectations for sitting at desks and on the rug (and how to handle kids who complain constantly about others touching them)
  • Explicitly teaching about QUIET and SILENCE: defining your expectations for the two terms and teaching kids to differentiate between them
  • How to practice getting and STAYING quiet
  • Training students how to whisper in a way that’s developmentally appropriate

Ch. 15: Teaching Children to Be Self-Reliant

  • Show your students how to get your attention appropriately (i.e., without tapping you or following you around the room)
  • The beauty of the 3-Before-Me rule: how this guideline will cut 90% of redundant, obvious, and unimportant questions
  • Responding to attention-seeking behaviors: specific statements of encouragement (rather than praise) that you can use to foster independence
  • Teacher control vs. self-control: construct questions that redirect behavior through problem-solving
    *What to ask instead of ‘why’ when it comes to behavior: replace ‘Why are you doing that?’ with ‘What should you be doing?’
  • One-liners to help untangle yourself from petty problems during instruction
  • Teaching kids to solve social problems independently: discussing physical confrontations and the claim “If someone hits me, my mom told me to hit them back!”; a sample discussion of the consequences of fighting (no sugar-coating or political-correctness here)
  • An example of facilitation using active listening
  • The hidden reason why children tattle: once this issue is addressed, you’ll see major break-throughs in self-sufficiency

FREE EXCERPT from the Book!

Chapter 9, “How to Teach Any Procedure: Making Your Classroom Expectations a Reality”

In just this single chapter (15 pages!), you’ll learn:

  • The importance of ongoing (distributed) procedure practice
  • How to form precise expectations and figure out exactly what you want
  • What not to do (how to phrase your expectations so kids will successfully meet them)
  • Why you should be cautious about misusing the term ‘we’
  • How to use a variety of signals to facilitate routines
  • The art of replacing nagging and criticism with performance feedback
  • The 8 steps for teaching ANY procedure you want kids to follow
  • How to play the Procedure Review Game as a FUN reminder for kids
  • The key to revising your criteria without confusing kids or seeming incompetent
  • What to do when kids don’t meet your expectations (repeat the practice, not the command)
  • The power of “Go back and try it again” (and how to get kids to do it without attitude!)
  • Ways to accommodate special needs children
  • How to avoid a slow descent into laziness and sloppily-done procedures
  • Ideas for logical rewards and appropriate incentives that foster intrinsic motivation

Free PDF download of Chapter 9 “How to Teach ANY Procedure!”
(You will need Acrobat Reader 8 or higher for proper viewing.)

You can also search inside the book and read additional excerpts at Amazon.com.

Check Out My Blog Posts About Routines and Procedures


My Favorite Ideas for Classroom Routines and Procedures on Pinterest

Follow Angela Watson’s Teaching Ideas’s board Routines and Procedures on Pinterest.

Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Angela created the first version of this site in 2003, when she was a classroom teacher herself. With 11 years of teaching experience and more than a decade of experience as an instructional coach, Angela oversees and contributes regularly to...
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  1. Hi Angela,

    I am reading your e-book and loving it. After 25+ years of teaching it is great to have some fresh ideas. You mention the powerpoint that you made for reviewing procedures and I have looked for it here and cannot find it on the site. Will you point me in the right direction?

    Many thanks,

  2. I was certain that I ran across forms for managing missed work but on a second pass of your wonderful website I came up empty. Was this just something I imagined after my second week back in the classroom. I love your site!


    1. Hi, Debra! You’re not losing your mind! I do have forms for this–they’re on the Printables From the Cornerstone Book page under the links for Chapter 23 Eliminating Homework Hassles:


      If you have trouble finding things again, try running a search of the site. The sidebar on the right of the page has a very powerful search engine run by Google. If your search terms don’t pull up anything, let me know! 🙂

  3. Hi angela,

    I love, love, love both of your books!! I am looking for the Procedure Review Game download on your site and I can’t find it. Can you help?


  4. Hi Angela-
    I am a first year fifth grade teacher and your book on Classroom Management has been a lifesaver! I poured through it this last summer and it got me really thinking about and planning my procedures before school started. I especially appreciated your chapter on managing paperwork; it has saved me many a headache already! Today I had someone from my district’s first-year teacher program observe me and she commented that my classroom is one of the most organized classrooms she has ever seen and that it seems to run itself. Thank you for all your great ideas that have helped me get my teaching career off to a good start!

    1. Wow, Michelle, that is awesome! What an encouragement to hear that!

      I would love it if you shared pictures of your room with us–you can email them to me, upload them to a public Facebook album, put them on Flickr or Picassa, etc. I’ll add them to the Classroom Tours page so other new teachers can see. It can be frustrating to see only classrooms of people who have been teaching (and accumulating ideas and materials) for years. I bet other new teachers would get tons of ideas from you! 🙂

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