Thursday, August 13, 2015

Teaching Upper Elementary Procedures

I'm sure every teacher would agree how crucial it is to thoroughly teach our kiddos classroom procedures in the first days, weeks, and even months of the school year. Clearly communicating our expectations is so important in providing our students the structure for them to be the most successful they can be.

However, what does this look like in an upper elementary classroom? In grades 4-6 our kiddos have been in school for at least four years or so. They understand the concept of homework, they've used the bathroom at school, and more likely than not, they've missed a day or two of school and needed to make up missed work. As a first year 6th grade teacher, I was tempted to gloss over these procedures because my students were older and more mature- surely they didn't need a step by step tutorial on how to sign out and go to the bathroom... right?

With our upper elementary babes, it's a fine line between treating students like mature preteens and talking down to them and babying them. Teaching procedures needs to strike the right balance. During this time, I explain the routines and procedures slowly and clearly, while communicating to students that this knowledge is empowering them to make responsible decisions. I also explain that we need to work together as a team. It's my job to provide materials and time for them to work, it's their job to treat our class tools with respect and use their time responsibly.

I definitely want to clarify- I do still have kids asking me to go to the bathroom right in the middle of a lesson and by the end of the year my colored pencils are dwindled down to just the orange, brown, & white and homework is still incomplete on occasion. And that's okay. Students make mistakes or are forgetful. But because I took the time to explain, model, and practice classroom routines in the first months of school, the responsibility to correct the mistake is now on the students.

Below is my list of must-teach procedures in my upper elementary classroom...

25 Procedures for Upper Elementary

 - Morning work routine
- Sign in/out policy for using the bathroom
-When they can use their lockers
- How to transition between class periods
- Where to find classroom supplies such as markers, scissors, etc.
- What respectful use of classroom supplies looks/sounds like
- What respectful use of classroom laptops & iPads looks/sounds like
- How to sign up for lunch
- Where to find missed work after absences
-Writing down homework assignments
-What to do if we finish early
- Turning in homework & reporting missing homework
- How to line up to leave the class
- What our dismissal routine is
- How to share an idea or question during a whole group lesson
- How to share an idea of question during a small group lesson
- How to ask for help
- When is it appropriate to use the pencil sharpener
- When/where to throw away trash or recycling
- Getting a tissue/replacing an empty tissue box
- How to turn in a lost item
- What is kept in our desks vs. our lockers
- When is it appropriate to clean our desks
- Fire drill/lock down routines
- How we assign class jobs
- What to do when I am speaking to another teacher or on the phone
-When we eat snack
- How to ask to go to the nurse

What procedures are your must-haves for the first few days of school? Did I miss any? I'd love to hear how you teach procedures :)

XO Emily


  1. This seems like a very thorough list! My sister is 12 and I'm in the same boat of giving her with more responsibility but also just wanting her to be a sweet little kid still and be carefree!

    1. Aw, your sister could be one of my kiddos :) Hahah Yes, it's such a transitional age and it's hard to strike that balance!

  2. I love how organized all your procedures are!!! Seriously all of my teacher friends I am directing to you!


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