What to do during free time: If you finish an assignment, first work on any unfinished assignments that are in the front pocket of your work notebook; when you finish those, you may choose to do your classroom job, read a book, write a story, illustrate a book, make up math problems, work on a research project, peer-tutor someone who needs your help, or create a song about what the class is studying.
Organizing desk: Remove all loose papers; decide if they should go home or stay at school; put papers that should stay at school in the front pocket of your work notebook; put pencil or art supplies in your school box; put your folders and work notebook on the left side of your desk tray; everything else goes on the right side; pick up your trash.
Helping other students: In a cooperative classroom, it is good to help one another; if someone needs help with directions or reading an assignment, help him or her if you are able; if someone needs help with understanding the problem, tell him or her to ask me for help; never put down another student who asks for help.
Handling seatwork pages: As soon as you get a paper, print your first name and last initial at the top on the right-hand side and today's date at the top on the left-hand side.
The secret to warding off at least some behavior problems is establishing positive classroom procedures for daily tasks and activities. Your students will appreciate your consistency, and once they have internalized classroom procedures, the day will run that much more smoothly. Of course, choosing the right rules and procedures for your classroom is an individual decision. But be sure to define what you expect of students from the very beginning. Remember to take time to teach procedures during the first days and weeks of school.
It would be easy...