Forgive me for the non-sexy post, but sometimes, routines are just really important. Sorry too as the title to this post could be more explicit, but it strikes me that as teachers it’s really important that we ensure that we’re giving a students considerable support and focus in our lessons. And I don’t just mean from the support we give them in terms of their learning of facts and practice of skills. It’s really important that we get the culture and climate for learning correct.
One way we can help provide support is by getting the structure right before students even enter the classroom. Decent entry and exit routines to your classroom should involve meeting and greeting students as they come in to your classroom and the importance of this cannot be under-estimated, in my opinion. I have on occasion seen some teachers sat beavering away at their desks when students arrive. They don’t have an entry routine to their lessons. Students come in as and when they arrive. There’s no orderly queue outside. They’re chatting and being generally student-ish as they come in. That’s not to say that the teacher isn’t working hard – we all do. And it’s even more difficult when (as I was told by one friend from another school recently) you’re teaching in 8 different classrooms, but entry and exit routines in your classroom can make or break your success with your groups. All that said though, decent established entry and exit routines help give order and purpose to your entire lesson. If your students turn up and just waltz in (imagine if they really did waltz in?!) getting a decent start to your lessons is going to prove difficult. As time moves on as well, the more established the lack of an orderly start is and the more difficult it is to get that order back.
Here are some entry things that I think should be no brainers:
- Meet your students at the door
- Make sure they’re orderly and not blocking the corridor (don’t lean on the wall – is your middle name Scaffolding?!)
- Say hello to them as they come in
- Enquire as to their well-being
- Ask them how they got on with their homework
- Have an activity for them to do as they come in (this can be preprepared with wall displays or activities in folders already stuck to the wall for those people who work in many classrooms)
- Direct them to the starter activity
- Ask them a question on topic from the previous lesson to earn entry to the room
- Have some music playing or stimulus – ‘where’s the Maths in that’ inspirational image displayed on IWB / projector.
Here are some things that you might like to consider as they leave:
- Return their confiscated items
- Check they have written their homework in their planners correctly as they leave (making them go back in and write it down correctly if all they’re written is ‘ Do Homework’ or ‘Do Sheet’ – they hate it so being a stickler for this ensures they’ll write it correctly in the future).
- Wish them a good rest of the day
- Ask them a question on the lesson topic to gain exit to the class
- Get students to ask a question of the person leaving after them in order to gain exit to the class
- Check uniform is still correct
Have you got any other routines that help you order your lesson?