Thursday, September 13, 2012

Routines, routines, routines...

Today I sent home some work done this week in class. At first glance, it all looks pretty easy for grade 1. And, to be honest, it was all fairly simple for the students to complete. Some math...

And a lesson we did on handwashing...

However, completing the tasks was not what most of the lessons were about this week (though I was happy to see that all of the students know their numbers to 10 very well and that they all remembered the steps for handwashing!) The activities actually taught routines about cutting, using glue sticks properly, getting pencil cases, storing personal items in pencil cases, recycling, handing in work, noise level expectations, best effort expectations, following directions etc.

The whole week has pretty much been all about routines, routines, routines. And will continue to be about routines for at least another couple of weeks. Hopefully, by then the routines will be set in stone and I won't need to go over them so much.

I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year. On the love side, there are all the new students, new school supplies (I adore school supplies and practically have a cardiac arrest walking into Staples in August every summer!!!), the classroom is clean and tidy and the year is fresh with promise.

On the hate side, there are the meetings (two just today - one from 8 until after the first bell and the other for my ENTIRE lunch hour. Ugh!), the photocopying, the turning my brain back on to lesson planning after the summer break, the fatigue and, last but definitely not least, the endless repitition of our routines. It is mind numbing. Truly. Mind. Numbing. We do them over and over and over and over and over and over.

Well, you get the idea. Today it took us almost 15 minutes to get back from the library! We had to turn around and go back to try again three times before they met expectations for hallway behaviour. Sigh... And the mind numbing part of it is that we will most likely have to do that all over again tomorrow when we walk down the hall. Just like we will have to do the noise level expectations during seatwork and centres. And the behaviour expectations during carpet time and snack time and..... 

Here is an example of an anchor chart we made last week about behaviour expectations during different activities. Using the A.L.E.R.T. system (see the separate page on A.L.E.R.T.) we went over what green zone (ready to learn) looks like, sounds like and feels like for each activity. We read over this chart many, many times each day. Like I said, mind numbing.

However, for all of the tedium in going over these routines, I know from experience how much of a difference it will make for the rest of the year and our learning if the students have routines down pat. I will be able to spend my time teaching (amazing right?) and not spend teaching time putting out behaviour fires every few minutes. So, I keep on counting to ten and starting over and over again. And saying the occasional prayer for patience probably doesn't hurt either!

Ms. Hughes

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