AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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Classroom Procedures

Procedures tell students how to perform routine instructional and housekeeping tasks.
Smooth-running classrooms can have as many as 30-60 procedures.


Examples of first-day procedures

  • Where to sit
  • Where to store personal belongings
  • Use of learning centers, the pencil sharpener, etc.
  • Use of the bathroom and water fountain

Tips for Teaching Procedures

  •  Present procedures in a clear and orderly manner.
  • Present procedures as the need arises. When appropriate, and especially at the secondary level, teach and reinforce procedures as part of the instructional activity. For example: Demonstrate how to head their papers the first time a paper is assigned. Explain clearly how to write down an assignment. Note where and when assignments are posted.
  • Model expected behavior for your students.
  • Provide students with opportunities to practice.
  • Review and re-teach procedures as necessary, until they become habit.
  • Reinforce the procedure and provide feedback.
  • Apply positive and negative consequences consistently.
  • After three weeks, only reminders should be needed.

Use this worksheet to list the procedures you will use to manage each topic or scenario.

Try It

Pick a Stick

To prevent herself from always calling on the same students, fifth-grade teacher Annette Gervase uses craft sticks (or tongue depressors). Each student in her class in Williamsville, N.Y., gets a stick to write down his or her name. The sticks go into a cup, and when it's time to pick a student during a lesson, she pulls out a stick. She says it keeps students on their toes because they never know when they'll be selected. Color coding can help with students who have the same name.

Helping Hands

Label your bulletin board "Helping Hands" to list which children have classroom jobs in a given month, suggests Josephine Dai of Brooklyn, N.Y. Have students make their handprints out of construction paper, write their names on the handprints and place them under the job title they will have that month. As you alternate jobs, change the handprints on the board.

Makeup Help

Appoint a student "secretary for attendance" to write the names of absentees on the board each morning, suggests retired Miami-Dade, Fla., teacher Janice Cox Jones. As worksheets or school fliers are distributed, the secretary writes the name and date on the absentees' papers and places them in a "makeup folder," along with any answer keys if applicable. "The silent and seamless method" maintains continuity in the classroom and "promotes accountability," she notes.