An inspirational teacher, Sally Haughey, Fairy Dust Teaching, has a manifesto, or philosophy of early childhood education, some of which included on the website include:
We Believe…Listening Deeply To Children Is One Of Our Greatest Callings – every Child deserves to be seen and heard as a valued community member.
Honoring the child’s ideas and thoughts – as important as our own sets the foundation for a dynamic education.
Trusting Children with the time and space they need to thrive is one of the most powerful gifts we can give them.
Further, the simplicity in Haughey’s teaching approach led her to write a published book about procedures called The Art of the Classroom. Basically, Haughey takes educators back to some of the basic elements of classroom management, procedures, that are currently being fine-tuned by most teachers at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year. “Student achievement at the end of the year is directly related to the degree to which a teacher established good control of the classroom procedures in the very first week of the school year.” Harry Wong, The First Days of School: How to be an Effective Teacher.
What is a Procedure? A procedure is a step to be taken in the classroom – It is a doing – An action. It is the way things are done in the classroom. A procedure is NOT a rule. A rule ensures safety. A procedure ensures order and routine. A procedure gets FORM to your classroom. It trains your students on how to do the important things in your classroom. A procedure is a “how-to” for the way things work in your classroom. IMPORTANT DISTINCTION Procedures are never rewarded or punished.
How to Create an Effective Procedure? Four basic questions to ask in creating classroom procedures:
How? Where? What is expected? What next?
Examples: How will students get their materials?
Where will they work?
What if they have questions during the station time?
Where does their work go when finished?
What do they do when work is complete?
The most effective procedures are simple and sequential.
- Say it straight and without fluff.
- Say it in the fewest words possible.
- Keep your procedures to no more than 4 – 6 steps. Fewer steps the better.
- You want it to be easy to remember – easy to remind students!
Depending on the age that you are teaching, there will be procedures imbedded in four major points:
- Coming & Going: Arrival, Bathroom, Hallway, Dismissal
- Managing Materials: Books, desks, pencils, paper, etc.
- Talking & Sharing: Class Attention, Speaking in Class, Group/Pair sharing
- Transitions: What to do when work is done, etc.
First, identify a transition point in your day; Second, Look to see what students need to do to be successful in that transition, and prepared for the next activity; Third, State what they need to do simply, and sequentially.
“The number one problem in the classroom is not discipline; it is the lack of procedures and routines.” Harry Wong, The First Days of School, Chapter 20
The Three-Step Approach to Teaching Classroom Procedures
Step 1: Explain Classroom Procedures Clearly
- Define the procedure in concrete terms.
- Demonstrate the procedure; don’t just tell.
- Demonstrate a complex procedure step by step.
Step 2: Rehearse Classroom Procedures Until They Become Routines
- Have students practice the procedure, step by step, under your supervision.
- After each step, make sure that the students have performed the step correctly.
- Have students repeat the procedure until it becomes routine.
- The students should be able to perform the procedure automatically without teacher supervision.
Step 3: Reinforce a Correct Procedure and Reteach an Incorrect One
- Determine whether students have learned the procedure or whether they need further explanation, demonstration, or practice.
- Reteach the correct procedure if rehearsal is unacceptable, and give corrective feedback.
- Praise the students when the rehearsal is acceptable.