Teaching Classroom Routines and Procedures in a Self-Contained Classroom
If you read my recent blog post about the most important things to do in the first two weeks of school, then you learned that teaching classroom routines and procedures is one of my recommendations. Check out that blog post here! When teaching classroom rules in a self-contained setting, some areas that are important to focus on include: general classroom rules, recess, the cafeteria, the bathroom, the hallway, and the school bus. In this post, I will highlight some tips and tricks, as well as some resources, to teach routines in a self-contained setting.
General Guidelines for Teaching Classroom Routines and Procedures …
For teaching classroom routines and procedures in a self-contained setting, I recommend introducing them:
- in a methodical way,
- slowly, over the course of time,
- with repetition, and
- with visuals.
Teaching Classroom Rules
As is especially the case for younger students, keep in mind that this may be the child’s first time in a structured classroom, first time on the bus, or the first time in the cafeteria. All classrooms operate differently, so there is not a one size fits all set of rules. However, when teaching classroom rules, be sure to highlight the following:
- How you want students to gain attention
- The need to keep hands and feet to yourself
- How to wait in line/their turn
Teaching Classroom Routines and Procedures for Recess, the Cafeteria, and the Hallway
When teaching routines for recess, cafeteria, and the hallway, it is important to point out the specific routines and rules for each setting.
For recess, be sure to teach:
- how to wait their turn
- the physical boundaries of the playground
- how to safely use the playground equipment
- how to safely navigate the playground
- the clean-up procedure
- how and when to ask for help while on the playground
- the routine for returning to the building
If you are looking for a social story and visuals to teach students about the rules on the playground, be sure to check out my Recess Rules Interactive Books and Activities by clicking here.
For the cafeteria, ensure you call attention to:
- how to safely wait in line for lunch
- how to pay for lunch
- where students are supposed to sit each day
- sights and sounds students might experience in the cafeteria
- how to clean up
- the routine for returning to the classroom
For the hallway, emphasize:
- how to walk in the hallway
- the importance of not touching things on the walls in the hallway
- if students need to walk with an adult or if students need to carry a hall pass
If you are looking for a social story and visuals to teach students about the rules in the hallway, be sure to check out my Hallway Rules Interactive Books and Activities here!
Teaching Classroom Routines and Procedures
for the Bathroom and the School Bus
For riding the school bus, introduce students to:
- the need to wear a seatbelt/harness at all times
- the importance of remaining seated on the bus
- that eating is not allowed on the bus
- when it is okay to stand up
- the importance of walking, not running, up and down the bus steps
- who to approach if there is a problem on the bus
If you are looking for a social story and visuals to teach students about the rules for riding the school bus, be sure to check out my School Bus Rules Interactive Books and Activities here!
Teaching rules of the bathroom might also overlap with teaching how to use the bathroom depending on the age of students.
For bathroom rules, be sure to teach:
- the toileting sequence
- how to use a bathroom stall
- how to flush the toilet
- the hand washing sequence
- how to access the soap and paper towels/hand dryer- so many are automatic now or have different buttons, etc.
If you are looking for a social story and visuals to teach students about the rules for using the bathroom, be sure to check out my Bathroom Rules Interactive Books and Activities here!
By clearly establishing routines at the beginning of the school year and then reviewing them periodically throughout the year, you are assisting your students in becoming as independent as possible.