Managing elementary classrooms is a difficult task, but it can become exceptionally difficult during chaotic situations, such as during fire
drills. Although school fire drills can seem like more hassle than they are worth, they are very important practice procedures. These drills teach students how to react and behave during an emergency. Even though fire drills are just practice, it is very important to act seriously. To maintain the class during the drills use basic concepts of classroom management.
Before the Drill
The day before the school fire drill review the rules and expectations during the drill with your class. Discuss the consequences of any bad behavior during the drill. Be specific about what exactly will be expected of the children during the practice drill.
It is important to go over the escape route plan with the students. This will eliminate any confusion on the day of the fire drill. Tell the children where they will be going and how to get there.
Explain the entire fire drill process to them. For example, explain how to exit the classroom and how to walk in the hallways. By going over these simple procedures and rules the day before, you make managing the elementary classroom easier. There are also many fire drill activities that can help the class prepare for the drill, such as coloring pages and song games to play.
During the Drill
During the fire drill the children will respond to the situation how you respond to the situation. Therefore, it is important to remain calm and act as if it were an actual emergency. It is important to remain calm so the children know you are in charge. Once the drill sounds have the children immediately line up in pairs at the classroom door. If you practice lining up at the door before the drill the children are more likely to remain calm.
Before exiting the classroom make sure you have your attendance book. You will need it to check that every child is accounted for. Once you have grabbed your book, check to see if everyone is out of the classroom then shut off the light and lock the door.
Lead the children through the school calmly and quietly to the designated meeting area. Make no stops along the way. Inform the children the day before that there will be no bathroom stops or other stops of any kind during the drill.
Once your class has reached the meeting place, immediately take role to see if every child has made it to the meeting area. While waiting for the drill to end enforce the rules and demand good behavior. By following these basic concepts of classroom management the fire drills will not be a difficult task.
After the Drill
Review with your students what went well and what did not go so well. Ask them what we could do better the next time. Have them draw or write their responses.
- Photo: "Fire Alarm 1" by Stevieleet Stock.xchng
“Fire Drills” By Melissa Kelly 2008, http://712educators.about.com/od/classroomhelpers/tp/field-trips.htm
“Top 10 Tips for Teaching Kids About Fire Safety” By Robin McClure http://childcare.about.com/od/childsafet1/tp/firesafetytips.htm