Procedures are important. They are kind of like routines. Procedures tell us “how” to do things. Students also need procedures. If we don’t think about how we want our students to do a certain activity then the student will decide on his/her own how to do it. And more than likely, the student will be wrong because let’s face it, they don’t know what we expect.
The main purpose of having procedures is to decrease discipline problems. It also keeps you from repeating yourself over and over again. And it gives students a sense of security.
I have a total of about 44 or 45 procedure that I use in the classroom. I really recommend that each and every one of you sit down and think about developing procedures for your students. Homeschooling parents should also have procedures. Here is a website that will make it easy for you to get started. Adapt the procedures on the site to fit your situation: Head Off Behavior Problems with Classroom Procedures.
Here are some procedures I have taught my students:
Water Procedure – Whenever a students wants permission to leave the classroom and get a drink of water, they make the letter “w” by raising 3 fingers in the air. They don’t need to say anything to me or disturb the class. I give them the signal to get water. They get up, leave the classroom, and come back when they are finished drinking. I allow one student out of the class at a time. So if another student needs water, I give him/her the signal to go, BUT he/she has to wait until the other student is back in the class. In the first two weeks, I required students to sign in and out. This was to discourage them from leaving the classroom every 5 minutes. I will eventually stop using the sign in/out sheet when I see that “traffic” has slowed down.
Bathroom Procedure – Again, when a students wants to use the bathroom, they cross their first two fingers and hold them in the air (so that I can see them) and I give the signal for them to go to the bathroom. Again, only one student out of the room at a time. I explained to my students that no one else in the classroom needs to or wants to know your personal business. This is why we use hand signals … for privacy!
Need to Blow Your Nose Procedure – Again, privacy. We don’t want to know that a person has slime on their face. I have students raise one hand and cover their noses with the other hand.
Emergency Procedure – If a student feels sick and needs to rush to the bathroom, then he/she does not need to ask permission; they just go as quickly as possible to the bathroom.
Students actually enjoy the hand signals. It keeps the classroom quiet and more organized.
Labeling Your Paper – At the top of every assignment, write your student number, your full name, the lesson, the page of the lesson, the correct date.
After I teach a procedure, I give students several days as “practice days”. After that, anyone not following a procedure is breaking one of the class rules (more on class rules later). I also post a written explanation of the procedure in the classroom as a reminder.
So far, all of my students have loved having procedures. It makes their lives easier. They know exactly what to do so they can avoid embarrassing themselves.