Thursday, July 30, 2015

Establishing Routines and Procedures

Responsive Classroom has two strategies for teaching Routines and Procedures that changed. My. Life.

Guided Discovery is used to introduce a material, an area of the classroom, or an activity to students. It's focused and purposeful, yet it still allows some open-ended discovery. Interactive Modeling is used to teach a very specific behavior, procedure, or routine, it is not open-ended. So, before you decide which technique to use, you have to decide if there is a specific way you want the routine or procedure done, or if there are multiple acceptable ways it can be done.

For example:

Bathroom procedures; I have one specific routine... so I use Interactive Modeling.
Using crayons; I allow multiple (appropriate) ways to use... so I use Guided Discovery.


1. Introduction of a material, area of classroom, or activity (naming).
2. Generate ideas and model exploratory work (teacher models exploration, a couple of students model exploration).
3. Children explore.
4. Children share explorations and observations.
5. Cleanup and care of materials.

Here's a video of Guided Discovery in action!


1. Teacher names the desired expectations for a routine or procedure.
2. Teacher models the desired expectations.
3. Teacher asks students to notice and explain specific elements of the routine or procedure.
4. Teacher chooses a few students to practice the routine/procedure.
5. Teacher again asks students to notice and explain specific elements of the routine or procedure.
6. All students practice routine/procedure.
7. Teacher reinforces desired behaviors that are observed.
8. Teacher continues to reinforce, and redirects and reminds as necessary.

Here's a video of Interactive Modeling in action!

For more Interactive Modeling videos, check out this link from the Responsive Classroom website-


While these strategies are used a lot in the beginning of the year, I find opportunities to use them all year! I introduce new routines and procedures at many different times throughout the year, and sometimes we have to refresh our understandings of routines/procedures that we've practiced before.

Give these strategies a try! It might seem like overkill if you haven't done it before, but once you do it, you will not regret it. These strategies give kids such a firm understanding of routines and procedures, you will be amazed.

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