Establishing a Routine for the String Classroom

As I posted at the beginning of the year, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to work on honing my classroom management skills. String students are generally great students and tend to do whatever you ask them to, but unfortunately, that makes it easy for me to get away with less than ideal classroom management practices. So over the holidays, I was inspired by Michael Linsin’s blog,, and his books on making a positive change.

One of the changes that I’ve been inspired to implement is establishing some routines. Not that I don’t have any routines, I do. It’s just that all my routines are in my head, and I’ve never really clearly articulated them to the students except in bits and pieces. They are mostly doing what I want them to, but there are a few little things here that they keep forgetting, which can add up to a lot of little annoyances.

On the first day back to school, I was inspired to write down on the board a list of things that I expected the students to do when they came in the classroom. It worked quite well, but as the day went on and I observed each class, I thought of more and added to it. ] By the end of the day and the end of my third class, I came up with a list of everything I expected them to do.

Here is my final list, which you are welcome to use to help you establish a routine for your classroom:



What was really cool about having the list was that it really cut down on the nagging and the reminders. If a student wasn’t paying attention or forgot something, I would just point to the number and they would just do it. Hats came off, hoodies came off, pencils were on the stands, all without having me to say a word. Nice!

What is interesting about the psychology behind this method is that the printed word seems to make things more formal and give words more authority than just being told what to do. It also makes it a lot easier to remember the routine, especially for me!

I think I am going to love these lists, and these new routines.

Next up, my routine to tackle tuning time!


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