Establishing Routines for the New School Year

Routines are so important to establish at the start of the school year! Establishing routines with your students during the first week of school can significantly impact your year.

Before the year starts, think about different areas and the classroom routines and procedures you want to implement.

  • work turn-in
  • homework turn-in
  • transitioning
  • lining up
  • voice levels
  • classroom management system
  • morning meeting
  • expectations for whole group, small group, and independent work
  • supplies
  • desks
  • classroom jobs
  • pencil sharpening
  • book bags

Having something in place for these areas will help your classroom run smoothly. However, you mustn't overwhelm your class with everything in one day or even one week! Instead, start with priorities, and then each day, add things in. It's a learning process!


Do you know the saying practice makes perfect? That is definitely the case when it comes to routines and classroom management!

Whether you teach first grade, fifth grade, or any grade level in between, practicing a new routine, again and again, is super important! Let's use lining up as an example. It seems like such a simple task, but it can become loud, pushy, and chaotic with certain classes if there is no routine.


When introducing any classroom routine, I always include the class in the discussion first! Of course, I already know how it should look, but including the students promotes student buy-in, and student buy-in = success.

Create an anchor chart together of what the routine should look like and what it should sound like. Hear what they have to say first! Unless you teach Kindergarten, all students have probably experienced positive routines and negative experiences due to lack of routine.

Students can vote on things and make small decisions like would sharp pencils go better here or here?

More student buy-in = more success!

Once you've discussed as a class, model, model, and model some more what lining up looks like and sounds like. Start in the classroom and then move to other areas of the school where lining up is necessary (recess, cafeteria, etc.)

Start by modeling the routine yourself. You can even give a few good examples and bad examples and let students share what went well and what could use some improvement. They'll love watching you be a little goofy while lining up the “wrong way!”

Next, have the students practice the routine. Depending on the class, you can even have them do one or two “bad” examples. Not only will this engage them in the process, but it will also make establishing the routine more memorable.

After practicing how the routine should go, have a quick closing discussion about the practice. Discuss the WHY behind everything. Lining up quickly and quietly is important for safety, time management, and more!


You could literally practice different routines all day, every day the first week if you wanted to, but that's not realistic! So instead, take advantage of the time of the school day.

Do you need to transition from one activity to the next? Take some time practicing transitions. What do they look like, and what do they sound like in the classroom.

Using a class slide is great for transitions! It gives clear expectations established as a class and has a timer! Transitions should be quick and quiet so you can move on to the next activity without taking too much time. Always explain the WHY!

Class Slides with Timers

Help yourself stay on track with teaching and help your students learn time management and take ownership of their learning with these daily classroom slides. This resource is packed full of slides to help you manage your entire day! These editable classroom slides with timers are the perfect way to manage your classroom while teaching your students time management!


Morning meeting is another great time to establish daily routines. If you think about it a morning meeting is part of a morning routine itself!

This is an excellent opportunity to use read-alouds to talk about procedures or positive behavior in general. Some of my favorites for the first weeks and classroom management are My Mouth is a Volcano and What if Everybody Did That?.

Books like the ones above present problems to students and can lead to discussing classroom issues that may present themselves and why students' actions may be hurtful to other students and the classroom community.

Morning meeting is all about building classroom community, and establishing consistent routines is important to the success of the classroom community as a whole.


Another important thing to establish is a classroom management system. Once you've established a routine, how will students be recognized when they complete the routine successfully?

Establishing a routine is just the start. Recognizing and rewarding successful implementation will ensure that the routine sticks all year!

Classroom Management Games are perfect for rewarding successful routines. Reward specific routines like transitions, voice levels, or participation. Keep it general with a “classroom” game and reward any successful routine!


This bundle comes with all of the classroom management games to keep things fun and engaging to help your students stay engaged and focused.

Resources included in the bundle:
Classroom Management Bingo
Classroom Management Connect
Classroom Management Tic-Tac-Toe
Classroom Management Money Deal
Classroom Management Unscramble
Classroom Management Crack the Code


Once the routine is established, it's time to practice, practice, practice! One way to practice is to set goals with time. Decide on a reward if they accomplish the task in the time set. See if your students can execute the transition in under 3 minutes. I like to use Transitions Bingo. If they transition quickly, quietly, and efficiently, they earn a piece. Once they have mastered three minutes, try two and then one. 

Grab Transitions Bingo for free by entering your info below!


Remember, effective classroom management doesn't have to be rigid! Routines will change and flow based on your students' and classroom's needs. The best thing you can do for yourself and your students to have a successful school year is establish routines from the beginning of the year. Kids thrive off of routine, and you'll be able to get to everything a lot easier with a well-managed classroom. It just takes some time in the beginning!

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Establishing routines for the new school year will lead to a positive learning environment! Establish routines and procedures by involving your students: model, practice, and reward implementation of the routines. Put a classroom management system in place to keep your students successful and accountable from the start! (elementary, Kinder, Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, classroom ideas, teacher tips, student rewards)

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