Are you a mind reader? Are your kiddos mind readers? Probably not!
The uncertainty and ambiguity of some settings is a challenge for many of us- especially our kiddos who require additional supports. By setting clear and consistent expectations in your learning environments, you are acting proactively in building student success- for all kiddos!
Why are clear and consistent expectations necessary?
✔️they help your students have confidence in their learning community: rather than worrying about what is expected of them or how you might react to something, clear expectations allows students to focus on the learning task. The learning task or activity or setting might be new (or newish), but the expectations are consistent. The consistency of your rules, your routines, and your expectations make the less familiar seem okay or somewhat familiar....even if it is new.
✔️they help your students have confidence in themselves: When kiddos know what to do, taking a risk is not so scary. Students are more likely to feel confident in their learning, when they understand their expectations, routines, and rules. Kiddos can act with some independence when routines are consistent- and take 'safe' risks when the opportunities present.
✔️they help all your kiddos start to take responsibility and self-monitor: Students in settings that are consistent and clear in expectations, routines, and rules are more likely to self-monitor because they have an understanding of the setting, what they need to do, and how they can do it. They become responsible learners.
✔️they help your students spend more time on task and less time off task: This is super obvious! When our kiddos know what to do, it is easier to get on task & remain on task. The unknown is gone, the boundaries are clear, and the routines are there.
Keep reading to find out 3 simple ways you can increase clarity and consistency in your classroom.
Here are 3 simple ways you can set clear expectations and increase consistency TODAY!!!
Set up classroom rules: no more than 5 rules that can be consistently implemented, reviewed, discussed, & showcased in your space. Hang the rules in order to provide a visual reminder, add a picture symbol when appropriate, and review the rules at the beginning or end of each task/activity. Keep them simple, clear, and accessible to all.
Keep your routines simple: build consistent routines that are easy to follow. You should have an arrival routine, an entering class routine, how to access materials routines, exiting class routines, recess/lunch routines, and an end of day routine. Of course if you are a middle school or high school teacher, you may have just an entering the room routine, accessing materials routine, and exiting routine. The point is build up your routines so they are always the same (context might change), but the students can just go with the flow because they know what to do.
Use a schedule: keep a visual and/or written schedule on the board or the front of the classroom. You should review the daily schedule with all your students throughout the day, not just at the beginning of the day. However, you should also use class/activity schedules and review this schedule as you go through the task. 'It is time for Math. Today in Math we will learn about X. We will do this, then this, then this, and we will end with y'. As you go through each section, let the kiddos know you have finished this part and are moving into the next part. Your class/activity schedules should follow a consistent format- even though the work and the presentation will be different. If anyone has gone to a Les Mills exercise class, you know what a clear schedule routine is- each work out might change the music and the exercises, but the format is always consistent.
These are just 3 easy things you can start doing today to increase consistency and clarify expectations for your students. Feel free to reach out to us at My Inclusive Classroom for individual questions.