Every teacher wants a seamlessly working classroom. Am I right? We want our procedures to be smooth, our students to be good listeners and kind, and we want our students to learn and succeed. I have found the key to making this happen, is to put rules and procedures in place right away! It’s part of our job to explain, model, and practice every single procedure and rule that exists!! No joke. Students shouldn’t be punished for an infraction, if they didn’t know their expectation. And we all know that there is no other grade level that needs more explicit direction, modeling and practicing as much as kindergarten!
I’ve had success with this in the past, but I am always up for learning new tricks and tips. So please feel free to share the rules and procedures that you know to be important in your classroom. Now for day 2 of 31 Days of Kindergarten… Teaching Procedures and Rules.
When to Teach Rules & Procedures
The short answer is the first day of school!! You can read how I started teaching rules and procedures on the first day of school here. I made a list of the procedures that I think are imperative to teach in my classroom. I start on the first day, but it takes weeks of reminders, modeling and practice. And the key being modeling and practicing. I sound like a broken record, but repeated modeling and practicing helps to ensure your students know the rules and expectations of every part of your classroom and each and every procedure. I promise that this repetitive practice helps to give them perimeters and aids in a year of successful stations, math tubs and learning! Here is a FREE downloadable list for general procedures to teach in kindergarten. You can use this as a visual reminder of all of the numerous procedures that need to be taught!
I am sure you may have noticed that the above list is just general classroom procedures. I have procedures for all of my literacy stations/math tubs, but I teach them as I introduce each one. (I will be posting about stations later on this month and will include the procedures I teach.)
So what about rules? I have found that every classroom and teacher has rules, but they are very specific to each school and classroom teacher’s requirements and personal preference. Some teachers allow only certain voice levels, whereas other teachers can tolerate a ‘productive buzz’. Whatever your school and classroom rules are, teach and model them. Model, model, model. Use students to help you model the rules and procedures the ‘correct’ way, but also the ‘incorrect’ way, as well. It’s been my experience that the students make a more solid connection when they or their classmates participate in modeling and they love getting to model the ‘incorrect’ way. 😉
I am not a huge proponent of having kindergarten students help make rules for the classroom. Most of my students have never been in an academic environment and while I include them by asking consequence type questions, I give them our school and classroom’s specific rules. Just a reminder that rules and procedures need to be taught over and over again…like a broken record. One time of teaching rules and procedures is not enough for 5 year olds.
How to Teach Rules and Procedures
A few years ago I used A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue to teach about tattling. The kids were so engaged and talked about it for days. I quickly noticed that using books to help teach rules and procedures was essential. I spent several days one summer searching and researching for great read-alouds that would help aid me in teaching rules and procedures. Here is the post I shared about 35 books that can help teach rules and procedures. There are so many great books to teach a variety of rules and procedures. Hopefully there are some books in this list that you have never heard of and will help you this next school year! If there are any books that you use and they are not included in this list, please leave a comment on this blog post or on my social media, so I can add it to the list. I love picture books and using them to help me teach!
I also use anchor charts to help teach rules and procedures. I love books and anchor charts! Kindergartners are very visual and making an anchor chart with them, helps them to connect and take ownership over that anchor chart after you hang it up. Please, please DO NOT make the anchor chart ahead of time…you might as well just buy a poster from the teacher store. Same concept. You can however put the ‘bones’ of your anchor chart on it…meaning a big illustration. But I always try and add the key elements WITH my students. Check out this post on Classroom Management Anchor Charts that can help you teach a variety of rules and procedures.
I know that this blog post may be common sense to many of you, but I have had many teachers come up to me at various trainings I have conducted and thank me for the explicit reminders. It is very easy to forget that we teach children who were born only 4-5-6 years ago. The I-phone has been out longer than these little ones! LOL! Regardless of what rules and procedures you teach, please remember to be explicit and model and practice!!
Keep reading for 29 more days of kindergarten ideas, tips and tricks!