Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Routine Books

Our school staff (of 2) is participating in a 7 month long "Conscious Discipline" workshop. I couldn't be happier. This came about after we attended a morning long session intended for parents back in November and found it to be so complementary to what we do in the classroom that we signed up for the long term workshop that is geared specifically for teachers. (Whoo, that's one long sentence.)

The group gathers once a month and discusses a specific aspect of the technique. And for that month, you work CONSCIOUSLY to integrate that aspect in your classroom. A lot of it, so far, has to do with cultivating friendliness with error in yourself.

If you are not familiar with "Conscious Discipline" you can refer to their website, or to the post I wrote previously on the shorter workshop. The book that is on the cover of that post is what this long workshop is based on. It has been a very helpful book with classroom management this year.

This month, we were assigned a homework in which we had to create a material for use in the classroom that would visually remind children of all the steps included in a daily routine.

We made a set of "Routine Books" for our room. The materials needed were basic photo albums, camera and printer. We made a list of all the routines we carry out in the classroom that involve multiple steps and that could be broken down into pictures.

The main ones we included are:

-Arriving at school
-Choosing Work
-Using the bathroom
-Lunch Routine
-Clean up

But we expanded: Using the book corner, Using the outside necklace, Working in the kitchen...

For each of these, we made a small booklet that has a pictures of a child carrying out each one of the steps involved in the procedure. It was really fun for the children involved to mock the process so that we could take the pictures- and yet another great reminder of the lesson without us actually giving the lesson.

Here are some excerpts from the bathroom routine book (Sorry about the neck craning, I didn't realize I had uploaded these twisted):

We also decided to write simple text on the opposite side of the books for engaging readers.

I presented the booklets as stories during small group lessons. My oh my! The children LOVED seeing their classmates in the "illustrations." They listened and looked very attentively as I told each story. And then many of them promptly went on to re-enact the stories. ("Miss Susanne! Look! I'm flushing the toilet like Cristina in the picture!")

We then made the booklets available in the book corner and the children look at them a lot, read them, and tell each other the stories.

This is like a grace and courtesy lesson that keeps on giving itself!

I am impressed at how quickly routines have become smoother in the classroom with the help of these booklets. Toilets get flushed more often, clean up gets done more efficiently, morning greetings are less frequently forgotten.

It is a great way to reinforce these lessons without having to invest a lot of time in re-giving the lesson. I super recommend it!

I took pictures of the formats that other teachers in our workshop used for making the routines "visual". Some of them made a visual "schedule" of the day. And others focused more on micro routines instead. Here's some of what they brought:


Laura S. said...

I love that you made mini-books. I have a homemade book of pictures that show a lesson, work choices on the shelf, the names of the teachers, students keeping their materials on their work mat, and that sort of thing. I like that your format breaks it down so that each little book is discussing a specific topic. Also I love that you intentionally involved the children as 'models.' When I've made these books in the past I used photos from my collection. I'm going to use your idea and have the children pose for the books. Also, I keep my homemade book on the bookshelf. Some of my students use the book corner as an escape from making a work choice: at least they can READ about children working!

AndieF said...

I love these! I have actually thought about making something like this, but you have definitely motivated me to do it now!

Great job!

Unknown said...


Thanks you for the great way in which you shared what we are doing in the Conscious Discipline Workshop. It helps to make the process more insightful and to share it with more people.
The routine books and schedules can be complemented with other visuals in the school. For example where which toys go (pictures of the toys, next to the place they are supposed to be); If children have a special place where their bags are put, you can put their picture next to that place and so on. Teachers are creative people, so I am sure you will find ways to use these ideas in the way they are most suitable for your class.
Way to go Susanne and Jessica!

Jennifer Howard said...

great ideas as always! Wonderful. I love visiting your blog. Keep up the inspiration. PEACE

Annicles said...

What a great idea. We make scrapbooks of specific days out or projects the children hsve done and they go in the reading corner. I often see them reading the books about their Andy Goldsworthy day or the story we write together and they all illustrated.

I think these are lovely and very helpful. Thanks for a fab idea.