Plan of the Day

A guide to developing patterns and routines in the classroom.
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The purpose of the See the One priority is to help cultivate an encouraging learning environment. Because the overall purpose of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion (S&I) is “to help youth and young adults understand and rely on the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ” (Gospel Teaching and Learning: A Handbook for Teachers and Leaders in Seminaries and Institutes of Religion [2012], x), we are continually trying to improve our classroom atmosphere.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to include patterns and routines in our class organization and teaching. A predictable environment helps increase learning and positive outcomes for students. The following “Plan of the Day” outline should be used during faculty in-service training to help facilitate teachers’ and administrators’ thinking and development of personalized patterns and routines for the classroom.

Cultivate an Environment of Love, Respect, and Purpose

Just as a farmer must prepare and cultivate the soil before growth occurs, a teacher must help cultivate an environment of love, respect, and purpose so that learning can take place. As stated in Gospel Teaching and Learning, “Establishing and cultivating such an environment of love, respect, and purpose … invites the edifying influence of the Holy Ghost” (13).

Activity

Think of what it really means to cultivate a field. Together as a faculty work through the following questions and exercises.

  • What does “to cultivate” mean? What are some synonyms?

  • List the steps required to cultivate a field.

  • Liken the list you wrote to creating an encouraging learning environment in seminary and institute classes.

Finding Our Purpose

There are many different patterns and routines that we can implement in our classes to help cultivate an encouraging learning environment. However, every pattern or routine we establish should have a purpose.

Activity

The following questions will help you find the purpose behind establishing more effective patterns and routines. Please answer them together as a faculty.

  • What things do I want my students to have at their desks that will help them to learn?

  • What items could distract my students throughout class?

  • What is the purpose of a devotional?

  • What makes an effective spiritual thought?

  • What helps students to explain, share, and testify with greater power?

  •  What helps students better feel the influence of the Spirit while reading the scriptures in class?

There are many other questions that we could ask ourselves. The key is developing a clear vision of what expectations and desires we have for our students.

Developing Patterns and Routines

We must understand what we would like to have happen in our classes before we can develop the patterns and routines that help us create an encouraging learning environment. It is important to know that there are many different patterns and routines that can help accomplish our established “what” and fulfill our purpose.

For example, to help students use electronic scriptures effectively, the class routine could be that students keep their electronic devices flat on the desk so that they are easily seen by all, or students could be asked to put them on airplane mode. The key is using the right one for you and your students.

Activity

Take time to develop patterns and routines that will be effective for your specific class. The following questions can help stimulate your thinking.

  • What can your students do before class to help minimize distractions and begin class on time?

  • How can you organize the devotional so that students share meaningful thoughts?

  • What script or other prompts can you use to help all students feel comfortable sharing?

  • How can you promote positive behaviors and reduce negative ones?

Implementing Patterns and Routines

For patterns and routines to be successful, they must be implemented effectively. The following learning pattern provides a framework for doing this.

  • Define: Explain to students both the pattern or routine itself and its purpose.

  • Model: Implementation is most effective if the pattern or routine is modeled by the teacher.

  • Practice: Give students the opportunity to practice the pattern or routine.

  • Feedback: Review and evaluate the pattern or routine.

The Positive Impact of Developing Patterns and Routines

Cultivating an organized and predictable environment will help all students. By adopting and implementing a few patterns or routines, you can expect to see some of the following improvements in your classroom environment.

  • Increased learning, responsibility, and self-management

  • Increased positive behaviors

  • Decreased disruptions

  • Increased student stability through predictability

  • Improved student/teacher expectations

  • Better student understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ