The topic of the week is Rules, routines and rituals.
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Do not assume that children know how to behave; regardless of age teach them the rules that operate in the classroom and precise routines and rituals for individual activities.
Decide on the precise behaviours that you expect from your students; draw up a list of 4/5 rules.
Use positive language when drafting rules and routines; identify the behaviours that your want to see rather than those which you don’t want.
Consider using ‘Follow instructions first time given’ as your first and most important rule.
Do not negotiate rules, routines and rituals until you are confident that such discussions will be a productive use of time.
Teach the children your routines for formal learning activities (independent work, group discussion, think/pair/share etc).
Teach the children your rituals for classroom organisation and informal activities (entering the classroom, tidying, answering questions).
Remind the children about the routine before you initiate a new task.
Keeping the rules and routines of your classroom clearly on display on large sheets of paper on at least two walls of the classroom; use words, pictures and symbols on the signs.
Involve the children in making, positioning and updating the signs.
Consider the position of the signs carefully; refer to the signs when subtly redirecting behaviour or draw a child over to the display to discuss your specific expectations. When a visitor comes into your room it should be absolutely clear
what rules and routines are in place.
Use song, rhyme, repetition, call and response, chants to teach and reinforce rituals; especially for younger children.
Use acknowledgement and positive reinforcement to imbed your rules, routines and rituals.
Use redirection and then graduated sanctions to provide consequences for those children who decide not to follow the rules.
Introduce new routines gradually; teach one or two until the children complain ‘Alright, enough already, we know the routine’.
Consider your key routines – Late arrivals, Countdown, entering and leaving the classroom, answering questions.
Investigate rules and routines that operate successfully in other classrooms and build on these (particularly as a new teacher to the school or when taking over the class from a colleague).
Take care not to introduce rules and routines and then forget to use them when managing behaviour.
Having clearly defined rules, routines and rituals will help you to remain consistent on difficult days.
Children feel safe and secure in classrooms that are predictable; children love routine.
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