Let’s be real, Day 1 is survival packed with meeting your students and making sure everyone gets home correctly. The best routines start Day 2. But Day 2, it’s off and running with routines. You can often trace problems back to setting up routines…and it starts right away.
1. Arrival and Unpacking
From the moment BEFORE the students walk in the room on Day 2, they need to know what to do.
My mailboxes were always set up by the door. Before students come in more than a few steps, they unpack their backpacks, hand me
their folder, and move to the backpack storage area.
As the students come in I’m in door to check them in.
I take the homework folder, check for parent notes, put in the sticker for the behavior calendar (because, of course, they will behave all day), and put the folder in their mailbox.
Making sure they hand you their folder as they walk in the door is critical. I fully believe in making the students accountable in handing in their folder and packing it away at the end of the day.
2. Coming to the Carpet
Not only are students always coming back and forth to the carpet…but they are moving all over the room. We have to teach them from the beginning to move in the room.
I have always had carpet spots. When I didn’t have a carpet,
I used a designated area with duct tape and names until I could get a Donors Choose carpet funded.
I believe students can be successful when they know what to do. Students need practice coming to the carpet correctly. Not sliding. Not running. Not pushing. I have students demonstrate the correct way to do this. I also use pencil boxes for personal supplies. (I don’t like community supplies.) We have to practice walking to the carpet while holding their pencil boxes quiet. If we aren’t successful, we do it again.
3. Lining Up and Walking in the Hallway
Lining up is new to most students.
They are usually walking hold on to a hand or doing what they want. We have to set expectations.
I always expect my students will walk in the hallway without talking.
I have never asked them to “put a bubble in their mouth” (I think it looks ridiculous) or have 2 fingers in the air (again, it’s silly).
One classroom had floor tiles, so I put a right orange duct tape stripe on the floor. We lined up on the line, so their was no debate about where the line would be. At first, I might line them up one at a time randomly or I might call everyone with a specific letter in their name to line up. Once we are in the hallway, we take very little steps. We might move quietly in the line just until the next classroom door. Stop. Check the line. And not move forward until we’re quiet. I have been known start and stop all the way down the hallway, but we will be quiet.
4. Using Classroom Supplies
As we use materials, we absolutely talk about using the materials correctly.
When I give out pencils, we talk about using pencils. How do we hold a pencil?
Where do we put the pencil when we’re done?
What happens when a pencil breaks?
I always had a bucket for broken pencils and a bucket for pencils ready to be used.
We also have discussions about crayons and coloring.
BUT the most important lesson is a glue lesson. One year I used glue bottles with red “dot” tops.
We talked a lot about using this glue bottles and I loved them. Most recently, we used glue sticks, but glue sticks come with their own fun. We talk about how far to roll the glue stick up…it’s not lipstick.
We also talk about using glue sticks in a back-and-forth motion or in a circular motion.
We also use it to practice counting, “Let’s put 5 stripes on the piece to glue it.”
Of course, there are more routines to teach because everything is a routine, but these 4 routines will get you off on the right foot in kindergarten.