Kindergarteners learn all the basics for being in school. It is sooo important for kindergarten teachers to teach little learners the procedures using kid-friendly visuals and songs/poems that will help these expectations stick. Each procedure that I introduce, I always model the expectation first, have a child model it, and then the whole class models the expectation.
Let me start by saying, if you’re a new teacher, or new to kindergarten – welcome to the best grade level! Kindergarten is a magical time and I hope you absolutely love it as much as I do!
The first thing you’ll want to do when planning, is begin at the door of your classroom – walk into the room and think like a student! How will students enter the room? Where will they go first? What will they do? This is a great way to determine your morning routine which is essential to having a successful classroom! Write things down as you go around the room and plan out your day. This way, you can show your students exactly what you expect from morning routine to centers, bathroom breaks, dismissal time, and more!
Not sure where to start? I made a FREE Classroom Routines & Procedures Google Slides Pack to help you plan!
While there are so many procedures that I introduce at the beginning of the year, these are the three major points that we discuss:
1. Whole Body Listening
From morning meeting, to whole group reading, to calendar math, this is an essential skill for learning in all times of the day! To introduce whole body listening, first, we watch a fun Sesame Street video about Cookie Monster learning to use whole body listening. The kids absolutely love Biscotti Karate as they call it! They love to giggle at Cookie Monster and tell him how to listen with his whole body!
At the end, I introduce the Whole Body Listening Poster (pictured below) and kids repeat after me as I say “Eyes watch, ears listen, voice quiet, body calm” and do motions for each phrase. This really helps reaffirm the concept by doing the motions so kids remember each part!
*Grab the whole body listening poster here!
After we watch Cookie Monster, we sing a Whole Body Listening song to remind us how to do this anytime we transition. I got this song from the TV Show Parks and Rec! It’s one of our favorites – and the kids sing it every time we come to the carpet, go back to our tables, or get ready for reading time! It goes like this:
Eyes are watching, Ears are listening
Lips are closed
Hands are still
Feet are really quiet, you should really try it!
Listen well, listen well
I also like to provide real photos and talk about what students notice to provide examples of explicit modeling of whole body listening. That way, between the song, motions, and visuals, it really reaches all types of learners.
You can find these Whole Body Listening posters included in my Classroom Routines & Procedures FREEBIE here.
2. Hallway How – to
How to line up and walk in the halls is something that may be a totally foreign concept to a lot of your kindergarteners! So, this procedure starts on day one when we practice lining up to take our attendance down to the office. We practice what this looks like and sounds like repeatedly, but we start by learning a fun Go Noodle Dance about lining up that helps us get our wiggles out at the beginning of the year.
Since kindergarteners tend to have no concept of physical and personal space, I like to have spots of tape on the floor at the beginning to show students how far apart they should be when lining up. We practice this in the way of a game at first – we line up by student number, by first letters in our name, by favorite color, by birthday, etc. This is a great way to practice listening and have fun with learning this procedure at the beginning of the year!
I also like to use the visual (pictured above) as we recite the poem together to practice lining up. Each and every time students line up, we whisper:
3. Bathroom Basics
Last and most importantly, I teach bathroom basics – one of the most essential procedures in kindergarten! Usually, I stop to teach these when the first child stops to ask to use the bathroom. I like to pull out my best Miss Frizzle impersonation and tell them “Seat belts everyone! We’re going on a field trip!” Boy, does this get their attention!
We all gather around the bathroom (which is in my classroom, but you could easily go to a hallway bathroom if you don’t have one in your room). As giggles ensue, I walk through the basics of using the bathroom (without getting too silly!) We all gather around our bathroom door to learn the procedures, and take turns practicing using paper towels or washing our hands.
I use these visuals (pictured below) with real photos of kids to help my students remember what it really looks like. We also talk about what this should sound like – quiet, calm, and quick! I make sure to stress the point that: you gotta go when you gotta go, BUT we don’t want to miss something important, so we do our job and return to our class. We keep these visuals in our classroom bathroom, and refer to them as necessary.
*Grab the bathroom basics visuals and posters here.
Depending on your classroom and situation, you may need to decide: do you want students to have a structured time for a bathroom break? Can students use the bathroom at all times of the day, or only at certain times? You will want to plan out these specifics before the first day to ensure good classroom management and routines.
If you’d like to hear more about how I teach these Routines and Procedures, check out my Youtube Video:
If you’re planning for back to school, you may also like these posts:
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