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Wednesday, July 14, 2021

My Top Classroom Systems to Teach from the First Day of School

Having classroom systems can help your classroom run smoothly from the first day of school. Students can learn these systems and allow you to continue teaching rather than stopping to put out little fires. Today we are going to talk about the top systems that I start teaching students right away. 

    Every day from the very beginning of the school year, the first thing that we do is our morning meeting. This is a time for students to greet each other, share something important happening, discuss our schedule for the day, and review our classroom rules and procedures. Every afternoon we finish our day with our closing circle. This is a great time for students to share highs and lows for the day, or as we call it in class, our clouds (lows) and rainbows (highs). We also talk about how we did as a class following our rules and procedures. If it was a rough day, we are able to chat about how we are going to make it better the next day. At our morning meeting the next day, we review what happened the day before and what we decided to do to fix it. After a couple weeks of me leading the class meetings, it starts to become my student's responsibility to lead the meetings. This is always one of their favorite jobs to have in the classroom. Having a consistent morning and afternoon with a morning meeting and closing circle can help your classroom run smoothly and help your students know exactly what is going to happen for the day. 

   The next system that is important to have in your classroom is a schedule listed somewhere for all your students to see. I like to have a daily schedule up in the front of the room on our white board. One of our favorite things to do throughout the day is mark off the tasks as we finish them. The students love to see that things are done and see how much longer they might have until something more exciting for them like recess or lunch happens. This is another area that my students are in charge of after a couple weeks of school. I always do it for the first couple weeks so they can see it modeled and know what is expected when they are marking things off. 

       The next system that is important to implement in your classroom is a pacing guide. There are few ways you can do this. First, you could do this by subject. You can have a pacing guide for each subject that you teach for the week, and you can place the items that need to be completed for the week on the pacing guide. The next way that you could do this is have all the subjects placed on the pacing guide for the week. This allows your students to be independent learners and learn to manage their time to complete the tasks by the end of the week. In my classroom, I do this for math and ELA. My students enjoy having the freedom to complete the work they want for each day. At the end of the week, if the work is not finished, they spend some time catching up on their work and then when it is finished, they get to have some free time. I usually put a list on the board of things they can do when their work is finished. They love having this little bit of free time at the end of the week. 

   The final system that is important to have in your classroom is assignment slides. These are some of my favorite things to use in the classroom. Assignment slides can help your students to stay focused and know what is expected of them for each time slot of the day. I also love to include a voice level section for my students because it helps them to know how loudly they can talk. During most parts of the day, my students are allowed to talk to each other because it allows them to talk through their thinking. This is when we see the light bulbs going off and students having their ah-ha moments. 

   There are so many different systems that you can include as part of your classroom. These are just a few that you can try. What systems are you going to try first? Tell me about it in the comments!


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