Explicit Teaching – Back to School

Last week I “walked” a group of new faculty through my client High School’s student information system. The week before I supported a colleague in leading a group of new faculty through my Elementary School client’s student information system. Prior to that session, I did a nuts and bolts workshop for new teachers. These are adults, can’t they figure out these systems and protocols? Why spend time on these integral systems and expectations? The answer is Explicit Teaching. 


Explicit Teaching is the teaching of procedures clearly and with expectations for performing routine tasks accurately. My definition. 


Last school year I wrote a blog post about Explicit Teaching, https://bit.ly/explicitteachingete. And here I am again, thinking that it is necessary to remind educators about figuring out what needs to be explicitly taught at the start of the school year.


At my annual New Teacher Orientation, we did just that. First we watched a Responsive Classroom video about interactive modeling to teach a procedure.

The new teachers’ feedback on this activity was that this proactive thinking was a very helpful part of the orientation. In fact, one comment was that this will be added to this teacher’s Back to School list of things to do (review what they will explicitly teach and add other routines). They then scheduled into their first lessons of the school year the procedures and routines they identified to explicitly teach. 


So what were some of the procedures/routines that they listed:

  • Getting workbooks from the student cubbies.
  • Where homework gets put each morning.
  • How to ask a classmate to use the marker when they are done.
  • Procedures for using and cleaning up morning tubs.
  • How to switch classrooms at lunchtime.
  • How to rotate during group times.
  • How to use the quiet zone.
  • What to do when the listen signal (or call) is given


I have also spent the last few years explicitly teaching the 4th graders how to email their teachers. At my client elementary school, 4th grade is the year that students are allowed to email within the school email organization. As part of these lessons we go over email etiquette and the components of an email. This is important for school but also for their understanding of when and how to be more formal in their communications. 


The librarian explicitly teaches how to do self-checkout each year. Why? New students, Kindergarteners need introductions and everyone else needs reminders.


So if you are starting school, take a look at your list of routines, practices and daily events for your classroom. Prepare to teach each one explicitly. While this will take some time, you will find that these lessons will allow you more time for content later. Why? Because you will be handling less classroom management issues due to students understanding the procedures clearly. 


And if you have already started, maybe some of the classroom management issues you are experiencing are because you have not explicitly taught some of the routines. Which routines/procedures have you not explicitly taught your students? 


Looking for some personalized PD for your school?  Maybe you want to study a topic, let’s discuss a book study. Reach out and let’s talk. Reach out via Instagram or Twitter (@edtechease) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/edtechease/) or email me, swladis@edtechease.com.

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