It can be overwhelming the first days of school with rules, procedures, expectations, getting to know your new students, collecting school supplies, and having a bit of fun. The first days can set the tone for the rest of the year!
Something Old Turned into Something New
Within the first week of my fifth grade class, I like to create a classroom procedure manual that my students can refer to throughout the year. Here is how I created it:
1. With my class, we brainstormed a list of procedures. Here are some of the things we came up with:
- How to line up for lunch
- When to go to the bathroom
- How to eat snack
- What to do at recess
- When to sharpen pencils
- What to do with notes from parents
- What to do when the fire alarm rings
- What to do when someone gets hurt
- What to do when I miss school
- What to do when I am late
- What to do during chore time
2. We talked about how to make a procedure by making steps, lists, or even a flow chart. I show them our last year’s class procedure manual (something old) and they can use it as a resource.
3. I partnered students up and they chose which procedure they wanted to do. Now this is where you need to take a leap of faith and let them create the procedure. This gives buy in and responsibility.
4. After everyone created a draft, each group shared it with the rest of us (we just put their draft under the document camera, but in the past each one wrote them on an overhead transparency sheet). We clarified things together.
5. Each group created a final draft and then we put them all into a binder. I remind them that this is a living document and procedures can change and we can add or subtract from the list. In fact this week we added what to do when you get stuck (Growth Mindset!).
Check in with your office staff to see if you can borrow the school procedure manual that you can use as a resource, there might be procedures in place already that you can copy, like fire drill procedures.
You cannot predict everything that could possible happen in your classroom, so you won’t be able to do a procedure for everything. But what works is after something new happens, you can write the proper procedure and add it into the manual. We have added some cool ones, like what to do if you get upset, or how to make friends.