Routine! Routine! Routine!
In my first blog about classroom management, I mentioned the importance of creating a safe and secure learning environment – one way of doing this is through establishing clear routines. There are 3 points in a lesson where routines are particularly important:
- Starting the lesson
- Transitioning between stages/activities
- Ending the lesson
The obvious reason for using a routine to start your lessons is of course ‘start as you mean to go on’! If you want a calm, well-managed class, this expectation needs to be conveyed from the very beginning. There’s also another reason…when exercising the body it’s important to warm up, if you jump right into the main physical activity you might hurt or strain your muscles, and this can stop or discourage you from doing more exercise later. Well, learning is like exercising the brain! Without a proper warm up, the brain will feel the strain, which can put children off learning – the last thing we want to do!
Here are a few practical suggestions to help ease students into their English lessons:
- Have the children make a line outside the classroom door, greet and make eye contact with each one as they enter the room. If lining up outside the class isn’t possible, get them to form a line down the middle of the class instead. Then walk along the line, greeting and making eye contact before directing them to sit down.
- Ask the children to sit/stand in a circle on the floor and to greet each other in turn.
- Start the lesson with an activity that’s familiar and relatively easy, such as a game they particularly like.
- Put a word or number puzzle on the board for students to sit down quietly and try to solve as they come into the class.
- Ask a different child each lesson to write the date on the board.
- Encourage the children to be involved in any set up that’s required (moving furniture, handing out supplies etc.)
- Establish a routine for where they should put their books, pencil case and bag etc. Children are easily distracted by ‘things’, so it’s better if they can be somewhere out of sight/reach until they need them (e.g. along the back wall, or the windowsill).