As a teacher, are you on Team Routine or Team Go-With-The-Flow? There’s no denying that there are benefits to both approaches to managing your students. 

Classroom routines create a daily rhythm for students. They hold students accountable, keep everyone on task, and allow for a smooth flow to the school day. On the other hand, being flexible has been an essential skill in the past two years, allowing teachers to adapt to the many changes and upheavals the pandemic has brought. Yet, amid all the shifts they’ve been through, students are craving structure.

So how can we get the best of both worlds and create an ideal learning environment for our students – whether that’s in an in-person, remote, or hybrid setting? Here are a few ideas to help you plan flexible classroom routines that apply to any setting!

Say Your Classroom Mantra Together

“I am”…two of the most powerful words, for what you put after them shapes your reality. – Zig Ziglar

A classroom mantra can be a powerful tool to get students in the right mindset for learning. Classroom mantras are often composed of a set of uplifting and empowering “I am” statements that help guide students toward positive thoughts. 

Together with your students, choose a set of “I am” phrases to set as your classroom mantra. We love Teacher Megan DuVarney Forbes’s (@toocoolformiddleschool) classroom mantra for inspiration!

At the start of each lesson, ask all your students to recite the mantra together. This not only fosters a sense of community and boosts students’ spirits, but it can also be done regardless of whether your students are in a physical classroom with you, or joining you virtually!

Start Your Day with an SEL Question 

Ever wanted to know the real answer when you ask your kids “How are you today?”. SEL questions can help with that!

Starting your day with an SEL check-in question is an easy addition to your flexible classroom routine that can help you keep your finger on the pulse of how your students are doing. Tools like Nearpod can make this a fun and interactive part of your classroom routine. Nearpod offers check-in activities like the Gratitude Jar and Energy and Mood Temperature Check to guide students in articulating how they’re showing up to their day of learning. Remote, in-person, or hybrid, this daily check-in is sure to help nurture students’ SEL skills, while giving them the structure and consistency they need!

Build-in 15 Minutes of Independent Reading into Each Day

Did you know that just six minutes of extra reading per day helps students achieve college and career readiness benchmarks? Include 15 minutes of daily independent reading to establish a sturdy pillar in your classroom routine that also helps with students’ literacy skills!

Read to Lead’s learning games are an excellent choice for independent reading sessions. Each interactive learning game lasts 15 to 30 minutes, and the easy and flexible implementation makes it a breeze to add to any classroom routine. Sign up for the Million Words Read Challenge to give students a collective goal to work towards to further encourage teamwork and a collaborative learning environment. Once they become “Millionaires” by collectively reading one million words on the Read to Lead platform, students will also be awarded prize packs and a celebration party for their class! What a way to incentivize students to read as part of their routine!

Implement a Gamified Exit Ticket 

Exit tickets are a part of practically every middle school teacher’s classroom routine, but how often have you run out of sticky notes or just didn’t have the bandwidth to print and cut paper slips? Besides, pen-and-paper exit tickets don’t work in the virtual classroom anyway!

If you’re frustrated and looking for a good way to implement exit tickets that work with a variety of learning settings, look no further than Read to Lead! Online or off, students can easily log into their Read to Lead account and complete an immersive learning game in line with English Language Art standards. Students feel like they’re playing video games in class and you get detailed information about student progress and performance on the Teacher Reports Tab. Read to Lead can also be used as an Early Finisher activity to keep students on task in between lessons! Sign up for free for Read to Lead and start creating flexible classroom routines you can easily adapt to any learning setting.

By introducing routines that can flex for any class setting (remote, hybrid, or in-person) we can keep structure for students and a sense of normalcy… something we’re all craving these days! 

How are you creating classroom routines this year? Tell us on Twitter! @readtoleadgames

About Read to Lead

Read to Lead uses the power of game-based learning to empower middle school students to build literacy, life, and career skills. Teachers can sign up for a free account to get started!