3 Routines to Set at the Start of the School Year

Categories: Classroom Setup

Routines Help Make Classrooms Function

At the start of the year, we often talk about what makes classrooms successful and functional. Routines are at the top of the list. Here are three routines we work on at the start of the year that help make my classroom function.


When students arrive to the classroom, have a set routine for them to follow. This is a perfect time to work on things like independent functioning skills and social skills, too. Greetings, unpacking backpacks, folders, morning work, lunch count and attendance all take place within just a few minutes. Help students become independent upon arrival by getting them into a routine. Step by step visuals on what to do will help students know exactly what to do when they arrive to your classroom.


Help ease transitions by practicing them and getting into a routine as a class. Using simple things like timers can help students understand when transitions are coming. Transitions can be hard, especially for students who are new to school. Getting into a routine of what to do when timers go off, how to clean up or move from one task to another will help almost every aspect of your classroom – from behavior to the amount of time you have to get things done.


Inevitably in your classroom, students will have to wait. Waiting can be tough. Start by teaching students what they can do while they wait. Use visuals to help them make choices of alternative tasks while waiting for the next activity. This helps manage students in a productive way and keep them from engaging in any off-task or disruptive behavior. The sooner students know how to wait, the faster you’ll have management of your classroom.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Over the first month or two of school, it will feel like all you do is review routines. That’s okay! Most teachers feel like every day is wash, rinse, and repeat of the previous day’s teachings. Staying consistent and reviewing routines regularly will help students become experts at routines in the classroom. And don’t be afraid to review routines mid-year if they need a tune up. By focusing on these 3 simple routines, your classroom will be running smoothly in no time.


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