For elementary students, read the book Shiver, Gobble & Snore to discuss why we need rules.
Tie writing rules into a unit on The Constitution. Have students sign to abide by the "Classroom Constitution".
Have students practice different room arrangements so changes can be made quickly. Use a cue word that instructs them to move to a particular arrangement.
When checking out books in the room, have students use a wooden paint stir stick to mark the place of the book they borrowed.
Create a flip chart of procedures - both a master chart for teacher use and individual flip charts for students to have at their desks.
For students to signal they need help, have them hold up a neon card or put a tent card on their desk.
Use musical selections to time entry activities (hanging coats, organizing desk, getting materials) and close the day with the same selection. Let the kids chose the music.
Cue - "Give Me 5". When the teacher puts her hand up, it is a signal for students to put things down, zip lips, get eyes on teacher, and keep hands at the sides.
Have different levels of talk for different activities or areas of the school building. Ex. 0 = no talking, 1=whisper, 2=group, 3=fill the room. Or draw a talk-meter for voice levels using percents for 0-100%.
Have two notebooks sitting on a table in the back of the room, one is labeled "Tattle-tale" and the other "Praise". Students can write in either throughout the day; at the end of the day, read both books and discuss.
When using centers, assign each one a different color and place cards or beads on strings in the corresponding color at each. The number of cards shows how many students are allowed at a center.
When conferencing with an individual student, to avoid interruption put a sign or note on the desk where you are working, reminding students that you are busy and not to interrupt.
When passing out materials to groups have everything in one Ziploc bag per group & have one student responsible for getting and putting materials away.
Clean-up procedure: "Magic Trash" The class custodian secretly picks a piece of trash that is "magic" and monitors as all students help clean up who got the piece of Magic Trash . The winner gets a pencil, sticker, or a prize ticket.
Student attention cue - play music softly and say, "If you can hear the music you're ready."
Use a timer and have a designated student in each class set it to go off 10 minutes before the end of class so you have time to wrap up each class.
Use blue painting tape to teach traffic patterns.
To assign students to classroom job, have them fill out an application and interview with you.
Practice procedures for going to the auditorium before an actual program, fire drills, and dismissal to make sure they are orderly when the real time comes.
Use channel 1 TV to show short videos to teach different procedures.
Have a team of teachers develop school -wide procedures to have consistency, while others could be particular to your room.
Have pictures and posters to demonstrate the procedures.
Attention cue- when students are noisy the teacher says, "Hips & Lips." The students respond by putting their hands on their hips and their finger on their lips to get quiet instantly.
Make magnets with each student's name on them and place next to a chart, for lunch - hot or bag, need to go to the library, etc., and have them place their name under the appropriate column.
Have students line-up in alphabetical order to save time and cut down on pushing and shoving.
Fire Drills - have a fire folder posted by the door containing class lists and a green and red card. When you get outside hold up the green card if all your students are accounted for, red if they are not.
Use color-coded dots to mark furniture positions. One color for group arrangement, another for rows. This saves time when moving desks and keeps the students and desks orderly.
To make sure parents fully understand the rules for the classroom, send TWO copies of the rules home. They sign one copy and return. They keep the second copy to hang up at home.
For disruptions in your classroom related to students' use of the pencil sharpener, try "The Pencil Can." Place two soup cans --one empty and one filled with collected extra pencils--near the pencil sharpener.
Use as many silent signals as possible. To get a drink: raise hand and then hold thumb up to mouth. To go to bathroom: raise hand and then do "walking fingers." To sharpen pencil: raise pencil. Then simply shake your head yes or no.
As students enter the room in morning, have a procedure for what they should do once they are at their desk. One teacher has review work on the board that students work on as the teacher takes roll and handles other organizational matters.
Do you collect lunch money from children every morning? To increase efficiency and student responsibility, try having students place their money in a utility organizer with individual drawers--one drawer for each child!
To get students' attention, say, "When you hear my voice, clap." Vary this occasionally with other actions such as snap or stomp. Identify a spot in the front of the room (one teacher uses a "talk box").