Beginning of Class Routines
What do the beginning of class routines look like in your middle school classes?
Do your students enter the classroom and know exactly what to do? Or, in this age of virtual learning, do they know exactly what to do when they log on....or even before they log on?
For a few of my first years of teaching, I didn't have specific classroom routines. Then I read The First Days of School and everything changed...I started incorporating specific tasks and routines for students to do/follow when they arrived in class.
For several of my middle school teaching years, my homeroom students were my first period class, which made getting 'into' class really easy - the routine for those homeroom students was to begin specific tasks as soon as they had completed their homeroom routines.
Beginning of Class Routines for ELA
What did my students actually do as part of the routine at the beginning of class?
When I taught ELA, my students worked on their 'partner daily language' which was my spin on the 'Daily Oral Language' we used when I first started teaching.
This routine involved:
While students completed this routine, I'd take care of any miscellaneous items and then circulate, answer questions, and listen to the students' discussion.
When all students were finished, we'd review any daily language questions or I'd throw in a little mini-lesson, and we'd move on to that day's lesson.
Beginning of Class Routines for Math
In math classes, the beginning of class routine started with what I called M.G. (for Mental Gymnastics), which was our daily math. I used a variety of daily math books over the years, but then created my own daily math, to spiral and review the concepts I knew my 6th graders consistently struggled with over the years.
The beginning of class routine looked like this:
1) Students took out the daily math immediately and worked on that day's problems (students kept the daily math in their binders so nothing needed to be passed out or retrieved at the start of class).
3) I'd answer any MG or homework questions.
Then, on to the lesson!
All in all, the spiral review problems/discussion and homework checking took about 7-10 minutes (yes, sometimes I'd take a little longer answering questions that came up:-)
Other Ideas for Beginning of Class Routines
While using the daily language and daily math worked well for me, maybe you'd like some other routines to begin class.
Here are a few alternatives:
1) Entrance tickets:
These are a quick way to assess where students are with your topic for the day. I think these would be easier to incorporate if you have a class period longer than 40 minutes.
These could be
2) Problem Solving:
Have a problem ready to go so students can begin as soon as they enter the room. It could be projected, could be in Google Forms, or could be a printed sheet.
When I taught 5th grade and had longer math periods, I often began class with a problem to solve, so we could work on problem solving strategies. There was a structure to this, so students knew what was expected (the routine!) when they entered the classroom and saw a problem posted.
3) Homework Review/Discussion
As a routine, this would look like: students enter the room, automatically take out their homework, and check answers with a partner or the classmates that sit in their group (or near them).
I used this if our class time was cut shorter for some reason.
What are your favorite classroom routines?
To Read Next:
Hey there! I'm Ellie - here to share math fun, best practices, and engaging, challenging, easy-prep activities ideas!