Sunday, August 6, 2017

Planning Procedures

It doesn't matter if you teach Kindergarten, Seniors, or somewhere in between planning your procedures is vital for a successful school year.

Do you believe that?

I do now, but if I'm honest I haven't always felt that way.

When I first began teaching I was hired to teach 7th and 8th grade Science and I had two opinions about procedures.

1.  I don't know what procedures I need to have in place.
2. Procedures are for elementary students.  Surely my 7th and 8th graders know how to complete simple task like turning in papers.

Go ahead.  You can laugh at my ignorance.  

It's pretty comical.

Now that I'm going into my 12th year of teaching I know those sweet middle school babies need procedures just as much if not more than those elementary babies.

As far as figuring out what I procedures I needed to have in place...well that sort of happened in the moment.  I would ask my students to do something and it would be complete chaos.  I knew then that we needed a procedure for that.  Or I would find myself answering the same question over and over.  We needed a procedure for that.

There are some things that I'm still figuring out.  Procedures are a very personal thing and you have to find what works for you and your students.  

Bathrooms for example.  I've read what feels like a hundred different procedures onr handling this issue, but I still haven't found the perfect {for me} procedure.  Some teachers give a certain number of passes each year or term and that works for them.  I find that I forget to ask for the pass.  Some teachers don't let students go at all during class.  My classes are 1.5 hours long and it feels cruel to me to never let a student go to the bathroom.  Some teachers have students sign out.  Some teachers take their entire class at once.  There are a ton of bathroom procedures.  I just haven't found what works for me yet.  

So if you have an awesome bathroom procedure that works for you leave me a comment and let me know.  I'd love to hear about it.

Even though bathroom procedures still have me stumped, there are some procedures that I feel I have perfected.  They work wonderfully for me and my classroom.

Today I want to share four of those with you.


This one took me years to find something that worked for me.  In the beginning I didn't really have a procedure at all.  Students would return after being absent and ask me for their makeup work.  The search would then begin.  What did we do two days ago?  Where did I put those papers?  Did I throw them away?  Let me just make a new copy.

It was a complete train wreck and I knew I needed a procedure to make this easier.  So I began putting names on the papers and placing them all on the corner of my desk.  Brilliant.  

Yeah not so much.  The same search still took place as those papers got buried under everything on my desk.

Now I have a "While You Were Away" crate

Inside the crate are hanging files numbered 1 - 31.

Let's say it's September 3rd.  At the end of the day I will put any handouts that we used that day in the hanging folder numbered 3.  They are all there for any students who were absent of if anyone lost their copy of the handout.  I don't lose papers and students know exactly where to look.  

When October 3rd rolls around, I simply remove any papers that are their from the previous month and add the new papers.

Simple and efficient.


I'm trying something a little bit different this year and I'm really excited about it.

In the past I've kept a binder.

Each student has his or her own page in the binder.  They are organized alphabetically by last name.

Whenever I had any contact with a parent, I made a quick note of it in the binder on that student's page.  If it was an email then I printed the email and placed it in the binder behind the student's page.

This has served me well for many years.  This year I'm going to use Google Forms as a paperless binder.  


I teach math.  You know the subject that students tend to hate the most.

They always tend to have lots of questions before they even attempt a problem.

In my class if you are unsure of how to solve a problem there are three steps to follow.

1. Look in your Math Notebook.
2. Ask a friend.
3. Ask Mrs. Weaver

I really want my students to view me as a resource and not just a bank of answers. I have a poster in my room with the above three steps.  We refer to it often.  This past year I had a student who was the queen of questions.  She was a great student but lacked self confidence and always wanted to ask me if she was doing it correctly.  She would come over to me and I would immediately ask if she had done steps one and two.  Later on in the year I would just point at the poster.  Eventually she would walk up to me and immediately say "wait" and then she would go look in notebook and ask a friend.

This procedure and my poster displaying it has become one of my favorite things.


How many times a day do you hear "What are we doing today?"  Do I need my ____ today?"

Drives me crazy!

Our "I can" statement is on the board every day which takes care of the first question.  As for what my students need for the day...

Check the board.

At the beginning of each class I have a slide displayed on the board with some simple directions for my students.

Having this on the board as soon as students enter the classroom does a few things for me.  I don't have to answer the same question thirty times because everything they need to know is on the board.  They have supplies and things ready to go so that we don't have to stop in the middle of class to get scissors or cut something out.  It helps cut down on the crowd at the supplies because they don't all walk in at the same time.

So there you have it...four procedures that work for me and my classroom.  If you have a procedure for something that is top notch I'd love to hear about it.

Or maybe you are like I was in the beginning and you're not sure what procedures you might need.

Here  are some planning pages to help you get started.
(Just click on the picture to grab them.)

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