After being a tent camper for years and years, I recently purchased a teardrop camper. I bought it mainly for security and safety while traveling. I hope to join some communities of women campers to make more friends and connections.

I am a reader and a writer; a momma and a grandma; a sister and a daughter. I have been a teacher and librarian for over 25 years. I used to blog here for new teachers, but now I have changed to blogging about my travels, and just for fun.

I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Management Monday IV: Mastering Student Procedures

The purpose of mastery of student procedures is to prevent misbehavior and confusion about classroom procedures. The teacher must spend enough time teaching the procedures so that students can easily follow them without constant reminding.

You may assume that students will understand and follow simple procedures such as "line up for lunch." But some students will neither understand nor smoothly follow such diretions. The solution is to overteach prcedures, especially at the beginning of a class and with elementary age students. Your goal is that students will feel absolute mastery of procedure and feel good about that mastery. For young students, it is wise to walk through a procedure giving explicit instructions as you go.

Spend plenty of time making procedures perfectly clear and acceptable to everyone in the classroom. Get students to enjoy their ability to follow procedures masterfully and smoothly. The increase in student efficiency will more than compensate for the investment of teacher time.

Here is an example of one of my procedures, how I taught it, and how it benefited my students and me:

Since the beginning of my classroom teaching, I have given my students a "magic" number. I alphabetized my students by last name and what their number was in the gradebook is what their magic number was on papers, lockers, and everything else imaginable. They always put their magic number on their papers so I could alphabetize their turned in papers, grade them and record the grades alphabetically. I could also find out quickly the students who had not turned in their papers. We even lined up by magic numbers - in order, odds first, then evens, descending numbers and so on. The first 2-3 weeks of school we practiced writing our numbers on our papers, lining up in "number order," etc. When we had fire drills, I didn't even have to take my gradebook to take attendance, because I would just call out their number and they would holler "here" to present themselves.

Because of all this practice and smoothly running procedure, my students performed the procedure perfectly when we had an emergency in the classroom. We were taking the state reading test and one of my students had a grand mal seizure. I went to my student's aid immediately, told the students to line up, and had the monitor take the students to the office for further instructions. Not a word was spoken, no jostling in line, no outbursts were made, and no other classes were the wiser until the ambulance showed up at the school. I was so proud of my kids and they were proud that they had mastered the lining up procedure so well.

I promise you, if you take the time at the beginning of the year to establish your rules and procedures, you will not regret it. Practice, practice, practice. Get input from the students as to your procedures. They may surprise you with other ways to accomplish your goals.

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