Cloi’s Opening and Closing Routines

Jan 26, 2016

I met Cloi, a wonderfully Together first-grade teacher, at a recent training here in DC. From the moment we met, I was drooling over her Together Tools. There is much to share, but I honed in on her paper-based Weekly Worksheet with a focus on her ROUTINES.

Here’s a snippet:

Click to enlarge

Cloi generously shared her rationale for including her Routines in her Weekly Worksheet. Here are a few excerpts from our conversation (minus the drool).

Maia: Why did you create your Opening and Closing Routines?

I am NOT a morning person, so I often forget to do little things like putting my lunch in the fridge.  And, in the evening, I am very tired and forget key steps like sharpening pencils.  I also wanted to be able to cross off my Closing Routine items each day so I knew when I could leave for the day.

Maia: Cloi, why did decide to add your Opening and Closing Routines to your Weekly Worksheet?

Cloi: I found them to be a really important component of being “Together.”  I had seen other teachers write similar routines on their desks or list them in random places. But my desk is often covered or I’m not even at my desk because it’s not in my classroom.  So, keeping my Routines on my Worksheet was an easier way to see exactly what needed to be done at these times of day.

Maia: But a checklist is a checklist. What do these Routines really do for you? 

Cloi: At my school, we talk a lot about being present for our students from the minute they walk in the door.  So, by making sure all of those items in my routines are done before they arrive, I am able to give my students my full attention at all times.  My kids eat breakfast in the classroom, and I used to find myself using that time to run back and forth to our workroom to gather materials or get my snack or water bottle.  My students were generally okay, but they weren’t getting my full attention.  My Opening and Closing Routines benefit my class because they list mainly the small, trivial tasks that must be done in order for me to be 100% present for my students. When they walk in the door and start breakfast, I can now use that time to build relationships with them.

Thanks, Cloi, for inspiring us to routinize the small things that can make a difference.

PS – More daily teacher routines and a “Repeatedly-Do List