As we settle into the month of October, I wanted to talk about the importance of routines. So, today’s post will focus on what a routine is and why we would want to use routines in our classrooms.
If you’re an experienced teacher, I’m sure you already have routines in your classroom that you are using, whether intentional or not. If you’re a new teacher, I hope you’ll find some ideas here as to why using routines will benefit you and your students.
A routine in the classroom is something you and your students do on a regular basis.
It can be a routine for everyday, a weekly routine, or even a monthly routine.
Within one period, it could be a ‘start of class’ routine, during class or even an ‘end of class’ routine.
It could be individual student routines or group routines.
But you may be wondering, why bother?
So let’s talk about the benefits of setting up routines in your classroom.
There are so many reasons why you would want to have routines in the classroom.
Here are 7 reasons why I love using routines in my class:
Do you sometimes sit at your desk and wonder what will I teach next week and have absolutely no idea where to begin? Having routines in the classroom simplifies our planning and reduces the amount of time we spend thinking about what we will do next or how we will do it. When you have a routine in place, you simply put those routines into your plans and then add content into the hollow spaces. Trust me when I tell you, this makes our lives so much easier.
When you watch a movie, are you the type of person who must watch the trailer first and/or read the description beforehand? Or do you just jump right in, maybe only knowing the genre of the film? Well, let me tell you, I’m the type of person who absolutely cannot watch a movie without knowing what I’m getting into beforehand. I imagine if I had to watch a movie and had no idea what it was about, I wouldn’t be wholeheartedly engaged or enjoy it as much. In a similar fashion, students in our classrooms flourish when they know what to expect. Have you ever had a student come to class and ask you « What are we doing today? ». That’s the student who would appreciate routines, consistency and predictability. Even if there are only a few such students in your class, routines benefit the whole classroom community, even yourself.
Imagine getting to work and having no idea what to expect for the day because either your boss didn’t explicitly state it or everyday is a new task? Chances are you may spend your time socializing with colleagues in the hallway or staff room, browsing Instagram or Facebook on your phone, or plugging your headphones in and ignoring the world, until the moment you finally get those instructions on what to do. And chances are also there that you may not respond to those instructions immediately. It’s the absolute same in our own classrooms. When we don’t have routines, our kids come to class chatty and distracted. So, having routines in the classroom helps with classroom management. When students come to class and know what to do, they get right to it (thought it may be with some encouragement from you). There are fewer chances of your students wasting time and causing trouble in the classroom.
When you get to the grocery store with a list in hand of all the items you want to buy, chances are you will be in and out with your groceries a lot quicker than otherwise. This is the same in our classrooms. When we give our students a list, they know what to expect and the whole system moves more smoothly. Children are focused quicker, they get work done faster, and you’re able to spend more time supporting the students who need you.
Imagine walking into a staff meeting late and having absolutely no idea as to what’s going on. What would you do? I would probably turn to my colleague sitting next to me and whisper « What’s going on? What are we doing? ». The same thing happens when we have students who come to class late and don’t know what to expect as soon as they get there. Having routines in place tells such a student what they most likely missed and need to catch up on. It keeps them on task.
Setting routines in the classroom makes students more responsible for their learning. When they have a to-do list, they will be more likely to work towards checking off those items so they can be done. My students love completing their tasks on their to-do lists and then asking me for some game time.
Lastly, have you ever had an administrator walk into your room without notice? I’m sure most of us have. When you have a routine in place and all the things above are working so well, not only will your administrator be pleased, but chances are quite high that they will linger less.
I hope these 7 reasons gave you an idea of why you should be using routines and you are now thinking about ways you can add more routines in your classroom.
Want to know what routines I use in my classroom?
Keep an eye out for my next blog post where I’ll be sharing all the routines I use in my classroom.