How to create useful routines in your French classroom

How to create useful routines in your French classroom

As a teacher, you probably know that classroom routines are paramount to maintaining your general sanity throughout the school year. When your students have a clear idea of what is expected of them from the time of arrival through to dismissal, classroom management becomes so much easier. When there are set routines in place, you are able to focus more on teaching and less on giving instructions. Investing in teaching your students these routines from the first day of classes will keep you from wasting valuable time throughout the school year. 

What is a classroom routine? A classroom routine is a well-rehearsed response from your students when given a direction from you, the teacher. It is something that must be taught and practiced. It is not simply enough to give the direction once. Rehearsal and practice are key! 

A classroom routine can be taught for any behaviours that you would like to control in the classroom, which can be as simple as: beginning the day, handing in assignments, sharpening a pencil or asking questions. 

What is the best way to teach a routine? Use these 5 steps to establishing a classroom routine for your French class to make the year go more smoothly for you and your students.

Step 1:  Explain the routine
Identify the routine that you wish to teach and explain to your students why it is important. For example, if you would like for your students to raise their hands before asking a question, explain how this will ensure that all students will benefit from the question and hearing the answer and it ensures that all students questions get answered. Be sure to clarify any part of the routine that students may have questions about before proceeding to the next step.

Step 2: Model the routine
You will need to act out specifically what you would like your students to do for the routine. Narrate what you are doing throughout the routine so that your students have a very clear picture of what is expected from them. If you would like your students to enter the classroom quietly and place their books in the top righthand corner of their desks, model this for your students.

Step 3: Practice the routine with your students
Have a few students act out and model the routine exactly as you have shown the class in the previous step, making any corrections as required. Now that all students have seen the routine performed, allow the entire class to practice the routine until they are comfortable completing it independently. 

Step 4: Initiate the routine
Explain to your students that you wish the routine to be completed in this manner each and every time it is required throughout the school year. As the routine is completed, be sure to narrate and remind students of the proper procedure. You can gradually release responsibility to your students as you see they are consistent with the routine.

Step 5: Review the routine
There may be times when you feel you need to review the routine with your class. For example, after coming back from a school break, or on a day when a special event is occurring at the school. In this case, go back to step 1 of this guide and repeat as necessary.

Some important daily routines that I suggest to teach your students include: Beginning the day, how to enter and exit the classroom, information to include on assignments (name, date, class, grade), school supplies, handing/collecting, bathroom/drink breaks, asking a question, emergency response, early finishers, lunch/snack time, dismissal, cleaning the classroom, classroom jobs.

Other types of routines

Routines can also be established to reinforce curriculum that has already been taught.  These types of routines provide opportunities to master a skill, and instil confidence. When students practice a familiar skill repeatedly, they will become more confident applying the skill elsewhere. In my French classroom, I like to have routines in place for communicating in French. In doing so, I find students are more likely to communicate with me and with each other in French.

For example, I always implement a warm-up activity in my classes that involves speaking in French. I rotate through these activities throughout the year, but my students know that they can always expect them before beginning a lesson. Three of these activities are:

This is an excellent way to incorporate daily authentic speaking in the target language, increase student participation, student engagement and help your students gain confidence. A student is chosen to be the teacher of the day. They ask questions to other students in French and their classmates must also respond in French. I keep a set of questions handy on a key ring for students to refer to (shown above).

I use a set of 24 French speaking prompts to give students an opportunity to practice their conversational skills and gain confidence asking and answering questions in French. They are all printed on circles and attached to popsicle sticks (shown above). I place them in a jar and each student gets to choose one. They must read and respond to the question chosen. 

‘La boîte mystère’ is an activity that is popular with students because it gets them involved in a meaningful way. By hiding a mystery object in the box (shown above) and having students ask questions to try to guess the identity of the object, students practice asking and answering questions, while using their critical thinking skills. It is very similar to the popular ’20 questions’ game.

 I hope that you are find the above information helpful! I have made the resources that accompany the above routines available in the TPT shop. You can find them at the links below, or as a part of a useful bundle of 8 different useful routines for writing and speaking in the French classroom HERE.

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