Tips to Tame 'Em: Week 1 Modeling Routines

Welcome to the Kick-Off of:
It's a Back to School Series for the next 9 Tuesdays. 

The purpose: to get you thinking and prepared to start the school year off right- tame the crazy (behaviors that is) for a successful and sane school year! This series of posts will cover tips, strategies, and resources to build a positive learning environment so that your students are ready to learn all that good stuff you've got to teach them!

This weeks focus:

The name of the game this week is all about routines. But more importantly, it's MODELING routines to eliminate problem behaviors.

I remember in college when my instructors would always use that word... MODELING. And they would say, to model EVERYTHING the first few weeks, even things like coming to the carpet and lining up. I had to scoff really at it at first, like really, you're telling me this modeling stuff is THAT important? I didn't realize how important it was until I had my own classroom where I was the captain running the ship. And I truly believe the reason our room runs so smoothly is because of how much time we took to model expectations from day 1. Even within modeling though, there are some things I found to be very powerful and helpful to maximize your modeling time.

You'd think kids would know how to come sit quietly on the carpet, or get a piece of paper from the writing center, or my favorite: opening your desk without having everything on top fall to the floor (I don't know what it was this group this past year, but we never quite got the hand of it... I must have not modeled it well enough ;) hehe) However, every year I'm a little stunned. Is some of this micro-managing? Yes. However, if you set clear expectations on how and when to do something when you've got 28 bodies in a sweaty, hot, room, it'll help keep your sanity and maximize your instructional time.

Some of my musts the first week include:
  • Morning Work Routine
  • Coming to the Carpet
  • Lining Up
  • Turning in Homework
  • Getting a Supply They May Need/Using a Tool
  • End of Day Routine
  • Opening Your Desk While You Have Things On Top (this was not a must last year, but man, we've got to get this mastered this year... they haven't quite figured out a way to solve this problem yet...hmmm)
Feel free to use this form to brainstorm and record all your routines that you'll want to model during the first couple weeks. *Hopefully* you can get ideas from others who share or link up on routines that they find really important to model. (Simply print it out and write your ideas or add text boxes to type and print... whateva ya' like!)

Show them what you WANT them to do... not what they SHOULDN'T do. 
This was such a hard habit to break. It was hard to put into words and communicate sometimes what I wanted my students to do because it was so easy to jump right to the "what not to do." I really had to train not only myself, but my students on how to focus on the positive. For example:
  • Teacher: What did you notice when I came to the carpet?
  • Student: I noticed you didn't run.
  • Teacher: So if I didn't run, what DID I do?
  • Student: You walked.
  • Teacher: #Nailed It! (And yes, I did say that sometimes... they eat it up!)

Check yourself next time- I bet you don't even realize how often we focus on the negative in situations like this (at least I know I did at times and there's still times where I catch myself). 
Why does this tip matter? For one reason, it teaches students to focus on positive things and not negatives. This will transfer over to their academics too when it comes to them noticing the positives. Also, we don't want to bring too much attention to the "wrong" way to do something, because it then gives them ideas and of course, they'll want to try it [Teacher: "Don't run up and slide on your knees like you're on a slip n' slide to the carpet... it's not safe"| Can't Be Tamed (Thanks, Miley) Student: Does just that because they wanted to see how far they could slide | Teacher: *Face Palm*. ]
Teacher Model: Notice | Student Model: Notice | Practice

What does this mean? This is the process I go through when modeling a routine. I will do the routine as if I was a student. I will only show them appropriate behavior on how to do it. I'll then ask, "What did you notice?" I usually give students a chance to talk with others around them on what they noticed and then they share out. I then have a student or two come and model for the class. Then, we
again have students notice and discuss (making sure they are working on the positive language). Lastly, I make sure that every student has a chance to practice the routine and reflect.
Does this take time? You bet. But I believe in the whole, 
"Go slow to go fast" philosophy. 
Take the time now so that you don't have to waste time later in the year when content is heavy.

These tips have worked for me, but what's worked for you?! I'd love to hear what you do as I'm always looking to spice things up! You have two options:

1) Respond to the question in the comments section
2) Grab the buttons and link up with a longer post!

This isn't too formal, folks.  Feel free to share any tips, strategies, and/or resources (as long as the resources are tied to the focus for the week). 

Here's this week's question:

And if you're curious, here's the schedule for this lil' series:

And if you'd like to link up, grab the buttons and add your link below! I can't wait to hear from you!



  1. It is absolutely SO important to set expectations the minute they walk in the door. If you get your management and routines in order right away, it will allow for time to not have to micro-manage anymore because the kids will automatically do as expected without prompting or redirection. Excellent post!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

    1. Thanks Alison for your comment... so true! Thanks for stopping by! :)

  2. Thanks for the linky Kelli! I think it's a great idea!

    Teachers Are Terrific!

  3. I totally agree with you about saying what you want them to do, not what not to do. I use this even when correcting behavior verbally. I was always told that if you say "don't.." they only hear the behavior. So I always say "walk" instead of "don't run" or "hands to yourself" instead of "don't touch him". Love this linky!!!
    Mrs. Spriggs’ Kindergarten Pond

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your tricks of the trade and linking up, Melissa! It made me smile :)

  4. Love your linky Kelli! :) I agree that those first few weeks are so important. We often want to 'JUMP' right into things, but need to be slow and steady! Thanks for the brainstorming sheet as well. I'm excited to print it out and really look at what I want to do come fall! :)
    Mrs. Bentin's Blackboard

    1. I'm so glad you joined in and shared your tips, Ana! I hope you come back again, thank you SO much for stopping by and linking up! :)


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