What can Ms. Rollison do to increase the chances that her students will behave appropriately in class?
Page 8: Procedures
In addition to creating classroom rules, Ms. Rollison needs to develop procedures. Procedures describe the steps required for students to successfully or correctly complete daily routines (e.g., going to the restroom, sharpening pencils, working in centers) and less-frequent activities (e.g., attending an assembly, responding to a fire drill).
Lori Jackman explains more about procedures and why they are important (time: 1:26).
Lori Jackman, EdD Assistant Professor of Special Education Towson University Baltimore, MD
Procedures are the steps of the process to getting some of the mundane stuff done in the classroom, like handing in homework, walking in the hallways, traveling to the cafeteria or an assembly. Those are the kinds of things that lead to a lot of behavior difficulties, partly because there’s transition. Kids don’t know what to expect next or how to proceed. And if you can lay out explicit steps, teach them to the kids, and reinforce and recognize the kids who are doing that, those transition periods of going to one activity to the next or traveling to an assembly or getting ready for lunch can go a lot smoother. Initially it takes a lot of teachers’ time and attention to focus on the kids who are doing that correctly and correcting and redirecting. But you can then take some tasks that you would spend a lot of energy on throughout the school year and basically the kids can run it for you. Things like collecting homework: If you have a standard way of doing that, come in, put in on the right corner of your desk, make sure your name is on it and someone will be around to collect it. If you start every class off with that the kids know, they come they put it on the right corner of their desk, and someone will be around to collect it, as opposed to “Get your homework out,” they start shuffling around for it. An activity that could take about a minute or two could take five or seven or even longer for that kid who can’t find it.
When they develop procedures, teachers need to identify situations in which students are more likely to exhibit disruptive or inappropriate behavior, such as during transitions or unstructured time. After identifying these situations, teachers should consider:
Why the procedure is needed:The procedure needs to be specific to a given activity.
Where the procedure is needed:Some procedures are location-specific (e.g., hallways); others are not.
What the procedure entails:The steps of the procedure need to be delineated for the students.
Who will use the procedure:Some procedures will be used by a select group of students.
When the procedure is needed:Some procedures (e.g., late-entry) are time-specific.
How the procedure should be implemented:If procedure steps are unclear, students will have a harder time following them, resulting in more classroom disruption.
Although teachers typically develop procedures before school starts, as the year progresses they might recognize situations for which existing procedures need to be revised or new procedures need to be developed.
Listen as Lauren Acevedo describes a situation in which she realized she needed to develop an additional classroom procedure (time: 0:34).
I have a bathroom in my classroom, and my first year of teaching I didn’t necessarily have a procedure for when they needed to use the restroom. I thought they could go as they needed to, and that made sense to me. And I quickly realized that that was not the case. It became more of they would just go whenever they needed a break or whenever they didn’t really need to use the restroom. So now we have a system in place where they raise up two fingers and let me know they need to go, and that way I can see how often they’re going and can track that. But that was something that I thought, oh, they can go on their own, and it wasn’t necessarily the case.
Procedures might vary across classrooms and grade levels. However, most effective teachers create procedures for commonly occurring situations. To view sample procedures for such situations, click each link below.
Sample procedures for entering the classroom (Elementary school)
Line up by the outside door when the bell rings.
When the teacher opens the door, walk into the room quietly.
Hang up jackets.
Get all necessary materials and go sit at your desk.
Sample procedures for walking in the hallway (Elementary school)
Stop at checkpoints
Sample procedures for going to the restroom (Middle school)
Use the restroom during class changes.
In case of an emergency:
Your planner is your pass to the restroom.
Hold up your planner to signal a restroom request.
If permission is given, take your planner and proceed directly to the restroom.
Use the restroom number indicated on your pass.
Sample procedures for arriving to class late (Middle school)
If you are tardy, you must:
Get a pass from the office.
Enter the room quietly.
Hand the teacher your office pass.
Go straight to your seat and take out your work.
Sample procedures for walking in the hallway (High school)
Walk on the right side of the hall.
Keep voices low.
Use school rules in the hall.
Use the most direct route.
Sample procedures for eating in the cafeteria (High school)
Join the end of one line, and just one time.
Sit in your assigned area.
Respect each other’s space, feelings, and property.
Use appropriate language in an appropriate tone.
Remain seated until signaled to dispose of waste and return to class.
In all instances, procedures should be explicitly taught and practiced until all students thoroughly understand what is expected of them. Correct execution of the procedure should be recognized, and problem areas should be corrected immediately. In addition, to help make sure that students continue to perform the procedure correctly throughout the school year, teachers should reinforce them with regularity and consistency. This is best accomplished through the use of structured booster sessions at various times of the year, especially after breaks and vacations.
Follow-up support in which additional training is provided to review previously covered information or skills and to troubleshoot problems. This support is provided at relevant intervals throughout the school year (e.g., after winter break, the first Monday of every month).
Ms. Rollison has developed procedures for going to the restroom, entering the classroom, walking in the hallway, and arriving to class late. What other procedures do you think Ms. Rollison should develop? Select one and develop a well-sequenced procedure for that situation.
Here are some questions to ask yourself about the procedure you created for Ms. Rollison. If you can answer “yes” to each, you have developed a good procedure.
Can you explain why this procedure is needed?
Can you explain where this procedure is needed?
Can you explain when this procedure is needed?
Are the steps for this procedure clear to those who will use them? (You can determine this by asking a peer or a student to implement the procedure using your written guidelines. Did he or she perform the procedure as you intended?)