Classroom procedures: Kinds of procedures, how to develop, teach, and implement classroom procedures


Developing & teaching classroom procedures

Rationale for developing and teaching procedures: Outstanding teachers develop, teach, model, practice and use procedures in their classrooms to ensure classrooms are: safe, orderly, caring, risk-free, organized, efficient, effective, and full of hope.

Classroom procedures discussed here are for specific purposes: like taking attendance, starting class, ending class, and parent teacher conferences.

To teach a classroom procedure we need to collect information to include for the procedure we want to teach. The information includes:

  1. Identify the information learners need to know and do to complete the procedure successfully.
  2. Break the procedure into distinct logical steps.
  3. Identify instructional steps to instruct students in how to perform the procedure.
  4. Identify successive approximations and skill outcomes learners will perform from a beginning level to an expert level.
  5. Select or create an effective instructional syntax for teaching the procedure and for making it a classroom routine.

Instructional are different than teaching models or syntax, which are used for all different types of instruction.

Our examples use three syntaxes as a base to create two outlines for teaching classroom procedures.

  1. The direct instruction syntax to outline a direct syntax for teaching classroom procedures and
  2. A combination of the nondirect and inductive syntax to outline an indirect procedure for teaching classroom procedures.

If a procedure is known and learning it needs practice toward developing it as a skill, then the first may be the choice. If you want to empower students to develop their own procedures, an indirect method is a good choice.

An outline for each follows.

Indirect outline

  1. Identify a task and ask learners what they think a good procedure would be to do it.
  2. List their ideas, without judgmental comments.
  3. Organize them and select ones for further thought.
  4. Make a general outline for each selected procedure for the task.
  5. Discuss them and identify ones that have promise of success.
  6. Record the steps agreed upon for the procedure.
  7. Ask learners to role play the task and use one of the procedures.
  8. Have other students observe the role play and identify what it
    • Looks like,
    • Sounds like,
    • Feels like,
  9. Repeat this procedure to refine the procedures or select one to practice and become better using it.
  10. Use it in appropriate situations in the classroom and reinforce it as appropriate.

Direct instructional sequence:

  • Teach (say it) it step by step,
  • Model it (show it while saying it),
  • Check for student understanding,
  • With students make and record a list of the procedures steps.
  • Have learners practice with coaching & monitoring for a few days,
  • Put students on the job (self-monitor),
  • Review and re-teach as needed.


Classroom Procedures - Listed by category

Before class

  1. Coming to class prepared
  2. Taking up student's money for lunch and other school activities

Starting Class

  1. Taking attendance
  2. Marking absences
  3. Tardy students
  4. Giving make-up work for absentees
  5. Enrolling new students
  6. Enrolling students
  7. Warm up activity as students enter the room

Instructional Time

  1. Student movement within the classroom
  2. Use of cell phones
  3. Students into and out of the classroom
  4. Students who have to leave early
  5. Going to restroom and drinking fountain
  6. Getting students' attention
  7. Students talking during class
  8. What students do when work is completed
  9. Forming groups
  10. Working together as groups
  11. Handing in papers/homework
  12. A process for re-doing and re-submitting corrected papers & projects
  13. Appropriate headings for papers
  14. Bringing, distributing materials, using text book
  15. Sharpening pencils
  16. Leaving room for specials (generally not applicable for 9-12 graders)
  17. Dealing with students who have missed assignments
  18. Dealing with boredom
  19. Students who don't have pencils, paper or other materials
  20. Signals to get attention and seek help on an assignment or project
  21. Touching other students in classroom/school
  22. Eating food in class
  23. Laboratory procedures
  24. Students who get sick during class
  25. Listing assignments, homework, due dates
  26. Systematically monitoring student learning during instruction

Ending Class

  1. Putting things away
  2. Cleaning up the classroom
  3. Dismissing the class
  4. Collecting papers and assignments


  1. Lining up for lunch/recess/special events
  2. Walking to lunch/recess
  3. Putting away coats and backpacks
  4. Cleaning out desks/cubbies/lockers
  5. Preparing for fire drills, evacuation, tornado, intruders, lock down, and other emergencies
  6. Going to gym for assemblies/pep rallies
  7. Respecting teacher's desk and storage area
  8. Appropriately handling/using computers/equipment

Student Accountability

  1. Late work
  2. Missing work
  3. Extra credit
  4. Redoing work and/or retaking tests
  5. Incomplete work
  6. Neatness
  7. Papers with no names
  8. Using pens, pencils, colored markers
  9. Using computer generated products
  10. lnternet access on computers
  11. Setting and assigning due dates
  12. Writing on back of paper
  13. Make up work and amount of time for makeup work
  14. Letting students know assignments missed while absent
  15. Percentage of grade for major tests, homework, etc.
  16. Explaining your grading policies
  17. Letting new students know your procedures
  18. Having contact with all students at least once during the week/day
  19. Exchanging papers
  20. Using Internet for posing assignments and sending them in

Teacher Accountability

  1. Determine grades on report cards
  2. Grade daily assignments
  3. Record grades so assignments and dates are included
  4. Have students keep records of own grades
  5. Make sure grades and assignments reflect progress toward standards
  6. Notify parents when students are no passing or having other academic problems
  7. Contact parents if problem arises regarding behavior
  8. Contact parents with positive feedback about their child
  9. Keep records and documentation of student behavior
  10. Document adherence to IEPs
  11. Return graded papers
  12. Monitor students who have serious health issues (peanut allergies, epilepsy, insect stings, diabetes, etc.)

Procedures parents and care givers will want to know and can be put into a letter or classroom handbook or syllabus:

  • Required student supplies/materials students need for the year and other supplies/materials which could be donated;
  • Procedures and Policies for your classroom;
  • Dealing with an absence, a tardy and make-up work,
  • Parent Homework Helps,
  • Explanation of special projects, visitors, field trips,
  • Costs for special events,
  • Payments procedures, scholastic book orders, fundraising;
  • Parent/Grandparent visitors,
  • Other items as needed. Important
  • You must have a rationale for all you do. Your Action Plan provides that rationale in your expected outcomes for students in your classroom


Sample Classroom Procedures

Coming to class prepared

Task or goal: Arrive at class with required materials and be prepared to work.

Step One: Identify and record a procedure and information to complete the procedure successfully.

Brainstormed Elements

  • Go to your locker and ask. "What do I need for class?"
  • Review check list:
    • Textbook with Cover
    • Notebook- type (spiral- 3 ring, etc.)
    • Pen(s)- color ink
    • Pencils (type – sharpened)
    • Assignment book
    • Paper
    • Hi-liters
    • Phone
    • Lap top
    • Ipad
    • Calculator
    • Backpack
    • Water bottle
  • Select what is needed and proceed to class.

Step Two: Identify indirect or direct instructional sequence to instruct students

Role play

After previewing the elements of the behavior (verbally) the teacher can then model by holding up each required item for all to see. Following that demonstration the teacher can exit the room and then reenter with all the necessary materials so that all can see again.

Looks Like

Self talk asking what is needed for class, selecting those items, and then checking to see everything has been selected and ready to go.

  • Textbook with Cover
  • Notebook- type (spiral- 3 ring, etc.)
  • Pen(s)- color ink
  • Pencils (type – sharpened)
  • Assignment book
  • Paper
  • Hi-liters
  • Phone
  • Lap top
  • Ipad
  • Calculator
  • Backpack
  • Water bottle

Sounds Like

  • “Do I have what I need to be prepared for this class?”
  • "I have everything I need. I am ready."
  • "I won't be singled out for not having my s..."

Feels Like

  • Confident and Prepared to Work.
  • Not being put down.


Following the modeling of the behavior the teacher can then give a simple written quiz on the elements of coming prepared to class. At that point the teacher can indicate that the grade will be recorded as a regular test grade. The teacher should provide the opportunity for students to review for two minutes prior to the quiz. Following the in-class correction of the quiz the teacher can state that the quiz results clearly point out that each student has proven that they know “coming to class prepared.”


It would be desirable to make a comment or two the next day regarding how the students performed on the assignment of coming prepared to class.

Step Three: Identify successive approximations and skill outcomes

Student Outcomes

  • Behavior: Coming prepared for class means that students will arrive at class with required materials and be prepared to work.
  • There is no reason to think that each student cannot come prepared.
  • The homework assignments for that night can be for students to come prepared the next day with all the necessary materials.
  • If the teacher should choose to take it a step further they can provide each student with a checklist to refer to as part of that assignment.


There are NO WARNINGS!!! If students fail to come to class with all the required materials, the teacher will privately communicate to those students that they need to see the teacher at the end of the class/day to attend a retraining on coming prepared to class.

Step Four: Make it routine

  • There is no reason to think each student cannot come prepared.
  • The homework assignments can be for students to come prepared the next day with all the necessary materials.
  • If the teacher should choose to take it a step further they can provide each student with a checklist to refer to as part of that assignment.

Retraining procedure:

  1. Student(s) read the procedure outline
  2. Student explains the procedure Step By Step
  3. Student models it (show it while saying it)
  4. Check for student understanding
  5. Student practices, by exiting and entering the room) with coaching & monitoring as necessary.
  6. Ask student to commit to being successful an self-monitor.
  7. Review and redo if needed

Guidelines for retraining must be followed

  • Retraining must take place on the student’s valued time (before school, after school, during recess, lunch, ...).
  • Retraining should take only the time necessary to go through the behavior again step-by-step.
  • Retraining should occur as often as necessary with each student until the behavior is in place and then followed by some positive verbal feedback to the student individually.
  • This component of the teaching of a behavior process should be undertaken in an objective, non-confrontational manner.
  • Remember: “It’s business; it’s not personal.”

8. Flagrant violations, refusals to comply or insubordination may require more assertive interventions.


Returning homework or distributing materials to students

Task or goal: students will receive returned homework and materials for the lesson in a well-organized process.

Step One: Name & Brainstorm the parts of the procedure and information students need to know

List of student, folders, mailboxes , groupings of students, student leader

Behavior steps

  • Listen for name
  • Get up
  • Walk to mailboxes
  • Find your mailbox
  • Put in or take out folder
  • Walk back
  • Work

Step Two: Identify and list parts of the procedure as steps in a logical instructional sequence

  • Each child is given a homework/learning materials folder with their name on the front and back.
  • Folders are placed in student's classroom mailbox.
  • Teacher sorts graded homework and other learning materials that students need into individual folders and places folders in the student's mailboxes .
  • Small groups or individuals (tables or rows or colors) will be called by student leader.


  • Listen for your turn
  • Get up when called
  • Push in chair
  • Walk quietly to mailbox
  • Get folder
  • Put in homework
  • Take out worksheets or other materials for lessons
  • Put folder back in mailbox
  • Walk quietly back to desk with materials
  • Get immediately to work
  • Students will examine their graded homework and/or learning materials and decided what needs to be a do-over (if any)
  • Students place graded homework and/or other learning materials in a book bag to take home and do-over as a part of their evening homework to return the next morning.

Step Three: Expected Outcomes

The classroom will operate in an orderly, predictable, safe, effective and efficient manner.

Make the Job A Routine



Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes

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