I am obsessed with what makes quality instruction just that: quality!

While books, speakers and professional developers will give you 29 of the latest, greatest strategies to use in order to be a successful teacher, I realize that after visiting hundreds of classrooms and watching thousands of teachers do what they do, it really comes down to important routines that are so embedded in the daily life of the kids and teacher that they are near-memorized and barely recognizable!

Because that’s the real deal: a well-run classroom on the surface doesn’t look that fancy.  In fact, the best run classrooms that get the best results year after year, aren’t fancy at all!  They’re simple and habitual.  They run like clockwork and don’t waste time on things that really don’t improve the quality of instruction.  They focus on what matters instructionally and behaviorally and don’t worry about much else!

So, in an effort to support you in getting 2014-2015 off to a beautiful, satisfying, high-score producing start, I bring you the 5 “Can’t Live Without” Routines for Every Classroom

Routine 1: Entering the Classroom

  • What they should do first
  • Give an instructional focus
  • Set the energy and tone for the day

Routine 2: Bringing Them Back From a Task/Activity

  • Signal for getting attention
  • Getting attention in the middle of a task, during conversation or discussion
  • Transitioning from what they’re doing to focusing on the whole class again

Routine 3: Materials Management

  • How to pass papers
  • What to do when their pencil breaks
  • How to organize their desktops and desks
  • What to do with backpacks, jackets, etc.

Routine 4: Partnering

  • How to “turn and talk now” and not waste time
  • What to do when their partner is absent
  • What to do when they don’t have anything to say
  • How to share-out to the whole class

Routine 5: Discussion

  • How to jump-start a conversation
  • How to use their notes to talk with their partner
  • Follow-up questions for their partner
  • What to do when the conversation stalls
  • How to share out with the whole class

I promise you that all good and important teaching stems from these routines – you will rely on them again and again and they WILL and DO lead to improved results for your kids!