Classroom Makeover Part II: Procedures

by Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed.

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Summer is the perfect time (read: only time) for teachers to think about giving their classrooms and procedures a spiffy little makeover. This three-part series will share a few ideas for polishing up your reading corner (Part I), procedures (Part II), and discipline (Part III). It’s makeover time!

Procedures that Make Sense

Establishing procedures for your students helps a classroom run much more smoothly…and keeps interruptions at bay. (“Can I sharpen my pencil? Can I go to the bathroom now? Is it time for lunch?”) Here are some tried-and-true tips for sharing your expectations and procedures with your students– from the get-go!

Label Your Drawers

So that your students know where the glue sticks, extra pencils, notebook paper and other supplies are located: type, print and laminate labels for all of the cupboards and drawers in your classroom. Attach them with rectangles of clear contact paper, cut a half-inch larger than the labels on all sides. Include a picture if you teach pre-readers. The labels will greatly help substitute teachers and parent volunteers, as well!

Post Your Schedule

Type or write each element of your schedule on cardstock, then laminate them (morning work, science, reading, lunch, recess, etc.). Post the components on your white board, and rearrange each day to show the day’s routine.

Communicate Your Expectations

At the beginning of the year, when you go over your expectations for procedures, print a list that includes when/how to leave the classroom (is there a pass to take?), go to the restroom (are their certain times that are appropriate?), sharpen your pencil, enter in the morning, order lunch, etc. Give each student a list of your expectations to keep in a binder, and post a copy in your classroom, as well. For an extensive list of procedures and ideas, see this article from Scholastic.

If you have older students (~2nd grade and up), ask for their input on classroom procedures: When do you think it would be smart for us to all sharpen our pencils? How should we ask for help so we don’t interrupt each other when we’re working? What might be a good way to walk in the hallway/enter our classroom/store our book bags? Engaging them in this conversation makes them aware of the reason behind the procedures: to ensure a smooth-running, courteous and safe classroom.

What To Do When You’re “Done”

To avoid the dreaded “I’m done…what do I do now?” question, try this fun idea from this previous post. Have your students create a list of classroom-appropriate ideas to fill your “When I’m Done” jar.

Giving a little thought to your procedures now, during the summer, will ensure a smooth-running classroom come August!

For more tools to help streamline your classroom, check out

Elizabeth D. Cossick, M. Ed. has a bachelors in education from The University of Georgia and a masters in curriculum and instruction from Lesley University, Cambridge. In addition to being the editor of A Learning Experience, she publishes Little Black Dress | Little Red Wagon Magazine. She resides in Atlanta with her husband, two young children, and a frisky Westie named Munson.



Filed under Academic Success, Activities, Classroom Community, Classroom Decor, Morning Work

6 responses to “Classroom Makeover Part II: Procedures

  1. Rebekah Hurst

    This article is so true. As a first year teacher this year, I worked hard to think through each part of the day so that I would have a procedure in mind to teach the students. We worked each day for the first week learning these procedures, and it was amazing to see how much that paid off. There were lots of things in my classroom that pretty much ran themselves because the students knew what to do and when to do it. This not only helped me, but my substitute teachers were also very appreciative as well. Teaching and practicing procedures at the beginning of the year cannot be emphasized enough!

  2. Paula Whitfield

    This article has good advice especially if you are a new teacher. I think routines/procedures are very important to teach from day one. Having anything visual in the room helps students to remember important info. In my special education class it is important to put a picture with the words.

  3. Susan

    This is a great article. I can use this information for my Family Childcare. Susan

  4. Jennifer Nuss

    A great article even for us experienced teachers. We all need reminders of what to do. It is easy to overlook the important procedures!

  5. Joey Byrd

    This was a wonderful article. As a first year teacher, I am nervously preparing my procedures. I want everything to run smoothly, but I realize the work and training that I will need to put in. Thank you so much for helping me with a few ideas.

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