What it is:
Clear and Explicit Expectations is a part of classroom management. It is clearly defining what you are wanting students to do in certain situations. For example, during morning entry you envision that students would enter the classroom quietly, empty their backpack, put their lunch in the lunch bin or sign up for hot lunch, then begin morning work. Doesn’t that sound like paradise! It can happen. You just need to teach your students that is what you are expecting.
How to do it:
Teaching expectations is just the same as any other subject. You just need to answer 6 basic questions:
- What is it I want my students to do? Enter the classroom quietly and prepare for the day: Have materials ready, lunch in the right spot, and begin morning work.
- Is it realistic and/or age appropriate? Yes mostly but quiet may not be realistic.
- Are they currently independent at it or do they need to learn the skill? Most of the class is not independent. I have to remind them of the steps every day. Most days I have students going to their backpack to retrieve items they need. Lunch is better but there is a forgotten lunch at least once a week.
- What steps do I need to teach for them to be independent or more independent? They don’t all empty their backpacks or sharpen their pencils. Lunch procedures are slipping.
1-Glad you are here!
2-Backpack: Unpack, Folder in Bin, Hang Up
3-Lunch: Home Lunch in Bin or Hot Lunch Count on Board
4-Morning Work: Voice at a whisper, Get work from table/bin, Finish work then read a book until everyone is done.
- How will I teach them the steps? What does it look like? Reteach morning routine. Have a sign or checklist for students to complete/check when arriving. They can self-check if they have done all the steps.
- What modifications need to be made for a few students in my classroom? 2 students may need pictures of the steps or broken down more. They may also need a checklist at the front of their folder/assignment notebook.
Sounds easy! Well it can be. In the above example, you just need to think about what you want your students to do then TEACH it….several hundred times if needed.
- Booster lessons will be needed. There are times that students will have harder times like after extended breaks or when schedules change.
- Be patient. You would never yell at a student for forgetting how to read a word or add up numbers. Just restate the expectations or take time to reteach the steps. It doesn’t have to be done to cause shame or make students feel bad for forgetting.
- If your students still struggle add in visuals. There is a reason speed limits are posted. No one would ever remember all the different speed limits of each road we drive on. Just post the expectations and refer back to them when needed.
Get students involved. Make it a job to check that certain expectations have been followed. Just make sure the student is being a helper versus an enforcer. Your classroom climate will be much better with simple reminders rather than harsh punishments.