Modeling and Repeated Practice of Expectations, Routines, and Procedures

Modeling and repeated practice leads to better results and more success for students
160 teachers like this strategy

About This Strategy

We expect athletes, musicians, dancers, pilots, and so many more professionals to use repeated practice to perfect their skills. We can give our students the benefit of this proven method by repeatedly modeling and practicing expectations, procedures, systems, or anything that is done routinely. This strategy describes the steps to successful modeling and practice, and suggests where and how you can put this strategy to best use. 

Implementation Steps

10 minutes
  1. Prior to implementing a classroom routine, reflect on whether this routine will be a positive or negative experience for all our your students. Dig deeply to determine why you are implementing a routine. Routines are not intended to create compliant, quiet classrooms. They are intended to organize noisy, collaborative learning environments in which students are empowered to share their thinking. Routines should be implemented when there is a true need and the routine would be a positive experience for students.
    • The intention is for these to become student-run, so some tasks may not fall into this list. However, don't limit yourself with prior misconceptions --  students can mark routine assignments, take attendance, help one another, and more and you can establish procedures for these things. Included in the resources is a list of common ones to draw from.
  2. Establish your procedure for introducing, modeling, and practicing and use the same routine or procedure each time you introduce.
  3. Implement using these steps:

    • State the purpose/need for the routine, procedure, etc. Be specific and clear. For example, you want to teach students about interactive modeling at the start of the year because it is the strategy you plan to use to implement the others. You can say, "I'm going to show you how we're going to learn about the important things we need to do every day in this classroom. It is called interactive modeling. Here are the steps: I’m going to show you what to do, I'm going to do it again but this time we'll do it together with a volunteer (or volunteers), then you'll practice it."

    • Model while thinking aloud, describing what you are doing and thinking.

    • Ask students what they are noticing, and note this (you can use images as well as words).

    • Ask student(s) to practice it again, with you.

    • Have students practice, while you observe. In many cases, time students, announce the time, and wonder if that time can be improved. Try not to interfere. Rather, stop the process if it goes off the rails, asking students how it can be improved, and taking their responses. This is preferable to you naming the problems. We want student ownership of the task.

  4. Before using the process (procedure, routine, etc.) the next few times, be proactive.

    • Ask if someone can show it.

    • Ask if someone can tell it.

  5. It is common for students to lose some of what they learn over a break or when very excited, so be patient with them and use repeated practice proactively to get everyone back into the routine.

To learn more about this strategy consult the The Well-Managed Classroom, Chapter 1, Wong, H & Wong, R. resource linked here, or "Revisiting Classroom Rules" from Responsive Classroom here

EL or SPED Modification

Breaking down systems, etc. is particularly critical for this group of students. When breaking down your expectation, think of how you can present it without using a lot of words. Provide in-class supports such as a buddy that students can work alongside of. Add visuals, demonstrations, play-acting, video, and other ways to "show" rather than explain. Chunking a lengthy or complex expectation makes the expectation more accessible. See the "Learning Bursts" strategy to learn more.

Tech Tools

Online Classroom Timers

  • There are a number of timers available free, online, that can be used silently or with sound, and projected or just heard, that work with all ages.

  • How this tech tool supports this strategy: Having a visible/auditory, non-human monitor helps students to learn self-management skills in a non-judgemental way.

Online Classroom Noise Monitors

  • Noise monitors are interactive visual cues to monitor sound levels in the classroom.

  • How this tech tool supports this strategy: Noise monitors are interactive visual cues to monitor sound levels in the classroom. Having a visible, non-human monitor helps students to learn self-management skills in a non-judgemental way.

Online Music

  • Music has been found to have a positive impact on classroom mood and learning.

  • How this tech tool supports this strategy: Putting together your perfect playlist for transitions or other procedures helps students to get the job done in a set amount of time.



  • The First Six Weeks of School (2000) Denton, P, Kriete, R

  • The Morning Meeting Book (2002) Kriete, R

  • First Days of School, Wong, H & Wong, R, (2009)

  • The Advisory Book: Building Community of Learners Grades 5-9 (2008) Crawford, L