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Confidently Teach Back to School Classroom Routines & Procedures


The start of the school year is a crucial time to establish back to school classroom routines and procedures that will set the tone for the entire year! These routines aren’t just about maintaining order– they’re essential for creating a safe, efficient, and welcoming learning environment for all of your students. By investing time in teaching routines and classroom rules early on, you help your students focus on learning while nurturing a positive classroom community. Continue reading to learn how to decide what classroom routines and procedures are most beneficial to your class, how to teach them to students, and which helpful resources to use for a successful start back to school!

Why are Procedures and Routines Important?

Procedures and routines are essential for setting up a successful classroom management system. 


High-quality classroom management starts with the proactive use of procedures and routines. When students know what to expect throughout the day and what is expected of them, the classroom runs more smoothly. This predictability allows for a more focused and calm learning environment where time is managed more effectively. 


When you have these in place, you don’t have to worry about enforcing discipline all day. Your students know what to expect and can work through the day’s flow easily and together with their peers!


You’ll experience fewer disruptions, and everyone can thrive!!


Creating a Safe & Calm Environment

The consistency and predictability that come with classroom procedures and routines help students feel safe. 


When students know the sequence of their daily activities and how to go about them, they’re less likely to experience feelings of anxiety. Students feel more confident in their environment too!

This sense of security is so important for young students who are still adjusting to school life.

Student Ownership

Another great benefit of teaching classroom routines and procedures is student ownership! When students understand what is expected of them at major points throughout the day, you spend less time providing step-by-step directions and redirecting students to stay on task. 


Students love feeling in control of their learning, and routines allow for just that! When students feel confident and in control, they are excited to participate in learning. As a result, the entire classroom will begin to manage time more efficiently! 

By establishing routines and rules that are easy to understand, you save yourself time and help students begin to develop important independence skills that they will carry with them for life!

Establishing Back to School Classroom Routines and Procedures

Back to School time is the BEST time to establish classroom routines and procedures! As students form their first impressions and learn about you, their classroom, and their peers, it makes the most sense to introduce these habits from the start.

Rules vs Routines

Rules and routines (or procedures) are both essential to effective classroom management and a positive classroom community, but they’re not the same. By understanding the difference between rules and routines, you can teach and reinforce more effectively and easily all year long!


Rules are regulations that determine how students should behave in the classroom. Students comply (or not!) based on penalties and rewards. 

Classroom rules might include:

  • Raise your hand to ask a question
  • Respect others.
  • Keep your hands and feet to yourself. 
  • Follow directions the first time. 



Unlike rules, routines are a sequence of steps a student follows to complete things in the classroom. They are expected to be followed without the need for penalties or rewards. 

Examples of classroom routines include:

  • Morning arrival procedure
  • How to line up for recess
  • The process of turning in homework
back to school classroom routines and procedures
back to school routine card

What Classroom Routines to Teach

When deciding which routines to teach, think about anything you will do repeatedly with your students. Consider daily activities, transition moments, and common procedures. Don’t forget to include routines for areas outside your classroom too– like the hallways, playground, and cafeteria! 

Check out this FREE checklist of 60 back to school routines to teach your class.


FREE Essential Routines Checklist! 📝

Get this checklist of 60 back to school routines! Leave your email below and we’ll send you this free resource right away!

How to Teach Back to School Classroom Routines & Procedures

Confidently teach important back to school routines in 3 easy steps:

  1. Teach
  2. Guided Practice
  3. Reinforce


1. Teach 

First, teach each routine to your students. 

Explain, model, and demonstrate each routine to your students as clearly as possible. Use kid-friendly language and explain WHY each one is important.

Create anchor charts to visually represent the steps for each routine. Added explanations and visuals will help your students fully understand and get on board. Paper charts and digital slides are both great options that you can review again and again!

back to school classroom routines and procedures slide

2. Guided practice

Next, practice the back to school routines! Give students step-by-step instructions before getting started. 

Allow your students to practice independently and together as a class. Give students feedback and repeat any steps in the procedures as needed. 

Practice each routine until your students show full understanding. Repetition is key to mastery– especially with new routines!

back to school classroom routines and procedures visuals

3. Reinforce

Finally, reinforce learning as needed! While independence is always the goal with classroom routines, it is natural that you will have to revisit and reteach steps throughout the year. 

Reinforcement helps maintain routines and ensures that your students can perform them without adult feedback!


Resources to Teach Important Back to School Routines

Although you might feel like a superhero able to conquer the world at the beginning of the year, there’s no need to do it all! Many resources are available to help you teach classroom routines effectively (& easily!) this year. 

Remember, overextending yourself leads to burnout, and no one needs a burnt-out teacher at the start of the school year!

Classroom Management Discussion Prompts

Use classroom management discussion prompts to help you teach essential classroom routines.


In this resource, you’ll find:

    • Printable cards for pocket charts or easy review
    • Printable poster prompts to easily make anchor charts
    • Digital slides for easy large-group review
    • Student pages to check for understanding and encourage accountability at home


Use this classroom management resource as needed throughout the year to review important routines and encourage positive behavior!

Movement Sorts

Movement sorts are a great way to get students moving while learning important classroom routines! 

*If you’re not familiar with incorporating movement into teaching, check out this post why your students need movement in the classroom to learn more!

Classroom Promises & Problems Sort

Use this sorting activity about classroom promises and problems to help students differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate classroom behaviors. 

How to Play:

  1. Hang posters on opposite walls of your classroom.
  2. Read a behavior card.
  3. Students move to the matching poster. 

When identifying a problem, pause to discuss what might happen if that happens in the classroom. 

This movement activity is a great way to reinforce routines and help students understand the consequences of their actions!

School Promises & Problems Sort

Similar to the classroom sort, these sorting activities help you teach expectations for areas outside of the classroom, including the bathroom, cafeteria, playground, assemblies, and bus. It ensures students know the expectations and routines for using the bathroom.

Students will build classroom community together as they participate in this whole group movement activity!

Find even more engaging activities to kick off the school year in the Back to School Games and Activities for the First Days of Kindergarten and 1st Grade, including:

  • Fine motor activities
  • Writing activities
  • scavenger hunt
  • Drawing activities
  • More movement games

By establishing clear, consistent classroom routines and procedures at the beginning of the year, you create a classroom environment that minimizes disruptions and maximizes learning! With the right approach and resources in hand, your classroom can become like a well-oiled machine where students truly thrive. Cheers to your best back to school season yet!

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Emily Yerty

I’m a teacher who believes in creating a classroom kids love and activities that keep them engaged all day!

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