Here’s the thing about the end of the day… it can get crazy and chaotic really fast. Students have been sitting and focused all day. If they notice that classroom rules are lax during this time, students might get wound up, swing backpacks, shout, touch, or do anything else to get their wiggles out! If your classroom looks like this, there’s a simple solution – a strong, consistent end-of-the-day routine.
When you don’t lead your students through this important time of the day with a calm routine, all the classroom management you’ve worked so hard on will go directly out the window. This is why it’s so important to end the school day with the same explicit routine that will allow for a peaceful and happy dismissal.
In my Step-by-Step Classroom Procedures resource, I walk you through my detailed End-of-the-Day routine. In this routine, students work together to organize the classroom for the next day and get themselves ready for dismissal. In addition to the important jobs each student needs to complete, they get the opportunity to have fun with each other while staying on task.
In this blog post, I am giving you my end-of-the-day routine for free. This will help you develop strong procedures and expectations in your own classroom.
My classroom ran like a well-oiled machine, and the end of the day with my kids was my favorite time of the day (It’s possible!). One important thing to note you must model and practice all procedures with your students. You can read more about how I get students to master procedures HERE.
Every teacher will have a different end-of-the-day routine. One of the most important things is that you have an extremely consistent, step-by-step end-of-the-day routine. I often found that teachers would have a consistent, step-by-step routine at the beginning of the day, but the end of the day was pure chaos! My end-of-the-day routine was: 1.) Fill out planners, 2.) Do classroom jobs, 3.) Return to seats to gather belongings, and make a pile on top of the table, 4.) Stack chairs, 5.) Go to the hallway to put things in lockers and backpacks, 6.) Return to the classroom with belongings to sit on top of desks, 7.) End-of-the-day games, 8.) Line ups. For the purpose of this procedure, I will model the expectations of my end-of-the-day routine.
Note: Before you begin your end-of-the-day routine, it’s important to completely finish or clean up the previous lesson or activity. For example, if you end your day with social studies, have students completely put away all social studies textbooks and binders so that they are free of distractions.
Next, use your “attention getter” signal (I talk about this in my Step-by-Step Classroom Procedures guide) to signal for students’ attention. As soon as students are listening, pause for a few seconds to signal the transition. This will start at the beginning of the end-of-the-day routine.
- Have the entire class sit in their seats or stand shoulder to shoulder against the wall to watch you model the procedure.
- Model as the student at the end of the day. See procedure on how to fill out planners.
- Model how to start and finish classroom jobs. See procedure on how to complete classroom jobs.
- Model how to go back to your seat to gather your belongings to go home. Make a pile with your belongings. Gesture how you look at your planner to see what books you need to take home. Nod your head as you point to each subject in your planner to show you are double checking what you need to take home.
- Model how you wait to be called by the teacher to stack your chair. See procedure on how to stack chairs.
- Model how you walk back to your seat after stacking your chair, grab your belongings, and walk carefully and quietly outside to your locker.
- Model how you carefully open your locker and place your belongings in your backpack. See procedure on how to open and close lockers.
- Model how you walk back into the classroom with your backpack.
- Model how you sit on top of your desk with your feet dangling and your belongings close to you (backpack on back).
- Model how you wait for instructions on how to start the end-of-the-day game. See procedure on how to play the end-of-the-day game.
- Model how to wait for the teacher to call you to line up.
- Model how you walk with your belongings and stand in line waiting to leave. Show how you stand in a single-file line, facing forward, with your hands at your sides.
- Now that students have had the opportunity to see you model this correctly, model how to do it incorrectly. A lot of these incorrect procedures will come from the procedures included at the end of the day. For example, the incorrect way to stack a chair, the incorrect way to stand in line, the incorrect way to complete classroom jobs, etc.
- Fake filling our your planner.
- Instead of doing your classroom job, stand near a friend and talk about what you’re doing tonight.
- Do not make a pile on your table of things to bring home.
- Go in the hallway to go to your locker and do not bring anything with you.
- Run in the hallway, visit with friends, open and close your locker, etc. Do anything to show that you are not doing the end-of-the-day routine.
- Repeat the fact that this is what students are NOT to do.
- Now call small groups to model the correct way.
- If a student misses a step or does something incorrectly, he or she is to sit down and wait his or her turn to try again.
- Have students practice this procedure at least three times. If time allows, do more practice runs until everyone successfully implements it.
- Once everyone successfully implements and practices this procedure, have a quick conversation to reiterate what students SHOULD DO and what students SHOULD NOT DO.
*Remember: as soon as your students stray from the routine, gather your entire class to practice everything again. This should run like a well-oiled machine every day.
So now that you’ve read that through, you may be thinking to yourself: a game at the end of the day? No way. I say yes to this 1000%. Here’s the thing, I’ve seen many teachers do things like read-alouds or having students sit quietly at the very end of the day. But your kids have already been sitting all day, and they still need to get their wiggles out. It’s tough to get students to sit quietly or focus on that read-aloud during this time. There are way too many distractions. If you can teach your students exactly what your expectations are for quiet games, your students will be able to play these games, have fun, and keep your classroom calm and peaceful.
I included some great quiet games for free for you. You may have seen some of these before, and some may be new to you, but they are all relatively simple games that can be quiet and allow your students to still have fun with each other at the end of the day.
If you structure the last fifteen to twenty minutes of your day with a well-practiced routine and clear set of expectations, you will have little to no behavior problems. Your students will be calm and peaceful, and your classroom will be organized and ready for a new day.
Stand at the door as your students walk out and offer a smile, a fist bump, or even a hug. Celebrate the end of another great day. With this positive end-of-the-day routine, your students will leave happy. Also, it reminds them that your classroom is a great place to be and return to in the morning.