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Determine Classroom Procedures Before School Starts

Use This Checklist to Set Your Classroom Climate

Found In: classroom management; routines & procedures; discipline

If a student gets up to sharpen his pencil while you are teaching, is that all right with you? Is it okay that the whole class jumps up and races for the door as soon as the bell rings?

Establishing your classroom climate, setting and practicing classroom procedures, early in the school year is one of the best time saving strategies around. It sets up routines that help you and your students focus on the work at hand. And it creates an environment that is less stressful for everyone.

To help you think about your classroom climate, use this tool from LessonLab Skylight and author-educator Kay Burke (2000). It's a list of questions for teachers to answer as they are creating their own set of classroom procedures.

Whether you are a new teacher or a veteran, this is a great tool to use.

Classroom Procedures - Do Students Know What Is Expected of Them for Routine Operations?

Directions: Review the following procedures and check the ones your student will need to know and practice.

A. Beginning the class

  • How should students enter the room?
  • What constitutes being late (in the room, in the seat)?
  • How and when will absentee slips be handled?
  • What type of seating arrangements will be used (assigned seats, open seating, cooperative group seating)?
  • How will the teacher get students' attention to start class (the tardy bell, a signal such as a raised hand or lights turned off and on)?
  • How will students behave during Public Address (PA) announcements?

B. Classroom Management

  • How and when will students leave their seats?
  • What do students need in order to leave the room (individual passes, room pass, teacher's permission)?
  • How will students get help from the teacher (raise hands, put name on board, ask other group members first)?
  • What are acceptable noise levels for discussion, group work, seatwork?
  • How should students work with other students or move into cooperative groups (moving desks, changing seats, noise level, handling materials)?
  • How will students get recognized to talk (raised hand, teacher calls on student, talk out)?
  • How do students behave during presentations by other students?
  • How do students get supplies they are missing?
  • How and when do students sharpen pencils?
  • How will students get materials or use special equipment?

C. Paper Work

  • How will students turn in work (put in specific tray or box, pass to the front, one student collects)?
  • How will students turn in makeup work if they were absent (special tray, give to teacher, put in folder, give to teacher's aide)?
  • How will students distribute handouts (first person in row, a group member gets a copy for all group members, students pick up as they enter room)?
  • How will late work be graded (no penalty, minus points, zero, "F," use lunch or recess to finish, turn in by end of day, drop so many homework grades)?
  • How and when will students make up quizzes and tests missed (same day they return to school, within twenty-four hours, within the week, before school, during lunch or recess, after school)?
  • How will late projects such as research papers, portfolios, and artwork be graded (no penalty, minus points, lowered letter grade, no late work accepted)?

D. Dismissal from Class or School

  • How are students dismissed for lunch?
  • When do students leave class for the day (when bell rings, when teacher gives the signal)?
  • Can students stay after class to finish assignments, projects, tests?
  • Can the teacher keep one student or the whole class after class or school?
  • What do students do during fire and disaster drills?

E. Syllabus or Course Outline

  • How are students made aware of course objectives?
  • How are students made aware of course requirements?
  • Are students given due dates for major assignments several weeks in advance?
  • Are students told how they will be evaluated and given the grading scale?

F. Other Procedures

You may need to introduce procedures related to recess, assemblies, guest speakers, substitute teachers, field trips, fire drills, teacher leaving the room, use of cell pnoes and other electronic devices, etc. List other procedures that are needed.


From What To Do With the Kid Who…: Developing Cooperation, Self-Discipline, and Responsibility in the Classroom, 2nd ed., by Kay Burke. 3rd Edition 2008

LessonLab Skylight Bookstore - Find information on other books for teachers or specific information about Kay Burke and What To Do With the Kid Who… .

© Copyright 2000 by SkyLight Training and Publishing Inc. Reprinted by permission of LessonLab, Corwin,


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