Learning classroom routines

Learning and following classroom routines creates opportunities for students to participate more fully in a variety of learning and social activities.

Choose the statement below that best describes how this student participates in learning classroom routines.
This will help you identify a starting point for selecting strategies (e.g., 1=specialized, 2=targeted, 3=universal).

  • 1. Requires one-to-one assistance to ensure student safety and/or appropriate behaviour when following classroom routines
  • 2. Requires frequent (e.g., more than three times per week) adult reminders to follow classroom routines appropriately
  • 3. May require occasional (e.g., one to two times per week) reminders to follow classroom routines appropriately (e.g., lining up, washroom breaks, transitions)

Universal Supports benefit all students

  • Work with students to develop effective classroom routines for typical classroom activities and tasks, such as:
    • coming into class
    • interacting with others
    • requesting teacher attention, permission or assistance
    • accessing supplies or equipment
    • maintaining time on task
    • completing assignments
    • using unstructured time
    • requesting choices or alternatives
    • requesting time to talk to the teacher about something personal
    • knowing what to do in emergencies.
  • Teach, practise and review classroom routines and review at potentially stressful times of the year (e.g., holidays, exam time). Model and practise what to do for each routine. Start with limited number of steps (e.g., one to three) and gradually add more steps.
  • Post visual reminders of routines for students to reference throughout the day. When appropriate, collaborate with students to develop these visual reminders.
  • Use descriptive feedback to reinforce individual students, small groups of students and/or the whole class when they follow classroom routines.

Targeted Supports benefit students with more specific needs

  • Pair individual students with positive peers who can serve as role models and provide support in learning and following classroom routines. Rotate these peers at regular intervals throughout the school year.
  • Provide proximity by positioning yourself nearby individual students who may require support and encouragement in following certain routines.
  • Use role-play to model and practise new classroom routines.
  • Work with individual students to develop low-key cues and prompts as friendly reminders to follow classroom routines.
  • Develop personalized visual checklists for routines and place them on the students' desks where they can see and use them. Some students may wish to carry the checklists with them.
  • For students with high levels of physical energy, create multiple opportunities for movement throughout the school day. This will make it easier for students to focus and follow classroom routines.
  • Develop self-monitoring strategies students can use to reflect on and keep track of their own success in learning and following classroom routines.
  • Set up a systematic approach to reinforcement for students who are working on following classroom routines. Reinforcement should encourage moving toward intrinsic motivation (e.g., "How does it feel when …?").

Specialized Supports benefit the small number of students with sensory, physical, cognitive or behavioural needs that require intensive, individualized interventions

  • Develop an individual behaviour support plan focused on following classroom routines that could include reinforcement strategies.
  • In exceptional cases, an individual student may need 1:1 adult support to facilitate participation in classroom routines and social interaction with other students. This adult support should be provided as unobtrusively as possible.