Calm start protocol
"The calm start is one of the defining features of the academy culture. What better condition is there than calm to promote self-regulation, reflection and readiness to learn?"
Below you can find the entire contents of the 'Calm start protocol' section from The Orange Book
The pdf version is downloadable from the bottom of this page
Calm start, prep quiz and ‘do now.’
The calm start is one of the defining features of the academy culture. The calm start protocol includes the prep quiz and the ‘do now.’
The first part of every lesson is all about calm, focus, recall, consolidation and independence. What better condition is there than calm to promote self-regulation, reflection and readiness to learn?
At the beginning of the lesson, books and pen pots should be ready on the desks. Prep quizzes and the ‘do now’ should be on the whiteboard. Students have set seating plans with which they will be familiar. Seating plans have been designed with SEND ( and in some cases, behaviour) in mind. These should not be varied – temporary adjustments made be made by the teacher after the calm start. The teacher should be at the threshold. The door should be open. All adults should model calm and quiet.
Entry to the class room
Students will enter the class room straight from the playground via the corridor and should be calm and sensible but not silent. They do not line up and do not stand behind their desks but sit down as soon as they are ready. Inappropriate behaviour will have been intercepted before students arrive at the class room. Students are likely to need to attend first to their bags and belongings but they should do so sensibly and with a view to sitting down as soon as possible. They should not be engaging in idle chats or wandering but the situation in the first few minutes does not lend itself to silence. There may be a few minutes between the arrivals of the first and the last student.
Prep quiz and ‘do now.’
On sitting down, students should immediately begin their prep quiz or ‘do now.’
Inevitably there will be some students still finding their seats. Students should not wait for other students but get on as soon as they are ready. The prep quiz and ‘do now’ should be done in silence and independently. Students should not use their prep packs and should not be given any assistance or seek any guidance. Students should not speak once they have started.
The prep quiz should take a minute or two. The ‘do now’ is likely to take ten to fifteen minutes.
Maintaining the integrity of the calm start
Everything (except safety) is secondary to the integrity of the calm start. Students should do these things without being asked. Adults should not break the calm start. Teachers should refrain from explaining or restating the process and should not display protocols on the whiteboard. Teachers should not ‘sssh’ the students.
Teachers and other adults should actively ensure calm by reading the room, modelling and (rarely) quietly intervening but always allowing – and trusting - students to get on with it. Class room management should be by modelling – teachers and other adults should be very aware of their body language, movements and position in the class room. Any interventions necessary should be very quiet so as to model the right atmosphere. No distractions should be allowed. While students are arriving, teachers and other adults may wish to greet them quietly; this is a good opportunity to model the right behaviours.
Teachers and other adults should not recap what the students have to do, help, contribute or interrupt the process with other instructions. Calm start protocols such as ‘come in get on with your your do now in silence’ should not be displayed. Teachers should not modify the process for example by allowing students to move seats, by giving out other tasks, displaying a different ‘do now’ on the board, or by deciding to give the books out later, for example.
Teachers should not disturb the calm start to deal with latecomers but should allow them to enter he class room and proceed as normal.
Adults in corridors and offices
Adults who are not in the room awaiting students should be very aware of the influence of their movements in the corridor and on entry to the class room. Radios should be turned down. Adults in corridors and offices should remain silent where at all possible and should be aware of the impact of their movements and body language.
Teacher procedures during the calm start
Within around 5 minutes of the first student arriving there should be silence which should last until the ‘do now’ is complete – approximately 15 minutes.
As soon as there is silence, teachers should call the register very quietly. Students should not respond other than by raising their hands and making eye contact.
Immediately after the calling of the register, teachers should provide access assistance such as sentence starters to students, such as SEND students, who may be struggling to access the ‘do now.’ Students who clearly have not completed their prep – by exception - may be allowed to read their prep rather than be unproductive. The teacher should make a note of these students and speak to them briefly after the lesson. Repeated failure to complete prep will come to light via poor prep scores. However, teachers should report the names of repeat offenders to the pastoral team. Some students may have written a first draft of a ‘do now’ in their prep books in readiness and such students should be allowed to refer to this where this is the case.
Teachers should mark as many ‘do now’ attempts as possible for SPAG during the calm start while students are still writing.
Completion of the calm start
Teachers should use their judgement in deciding when to close the ‘do now’ process by scanning for progress. Students should have enough time to make a good attempt.
If teachers or other adults wish to move students temporarily to other seats, give instructions or notices, handout resources or speak to students, this should be left until the ‘calm start’ is over.
The class room door should remain open until the ‘calm start’ is complete and then be closed so that noise generated at the end of the ‘calm start’ in one class room does not affect the silence of any continuing ‘calm start’ in another.
The teacher announcing the end of the ‘do now’ by closing the door marks the end of the ‘calm start.’
Purpose of the prep quiz and ‘do now’
The purpose of the prep quiz is to show recall of core knowledge from the prep pack and to hold students to account for the completion of prep.
The purpose of the ‘do now’ is to give students an opportunity to show their understanding of the core knowledge contained in the prep pack.
Prep answers should not be reviewed in the lesson because the prep answers are recall knowledge which should be consolidated into the language and progress of the lesson.
Some teachers like to use ‘do now feedback’ to build on the core knowledge included in the ‘do now.’ This is acceptable provided the activity has been designed as part of the lesson progress and there is sufficient pace, build, exploration and depth in the activity.
The ‘do now’ should not be extended past its useful life as consolidation of what has been learned in prep, merely to complete more SPAG marking