Sunday, December 9, 2012

Working it all in

You have seen my lesson plans and I have had questions about how I get it all in. Well, some days I don't.  Some days we have little interruptions that add up to big time losses. 

However, I do try my best to maximize my instructional time.  Here are a few things that help to keep the ball rolling. 

Hint #1:  Use a timer.
I have this mounted on my wall (by my instructional table) and I use it ALL. DAY. LONG. This is equivalent to a food diary for a dieter...it keeps everyone honest.
Click on the clock to find this on Amazon.

Here is why I like it.
1.  It keeps me on track.  My mini-lessons do not turn into maxi-lessons.  NOTE:  Lessons that drag on invite behavior issues... another time sucker.
2.   My kiddos know how much longer they have.  There is a sense of urgency to their work.
3.  It is large enough for everyone to see.  If I see someone off task I can just point to the clock and they can see how much longer they have.
4.  It is sort of fun.  We play "minute to win it."  I tell my kiddos... "You have 2 minutes to put your calendars away and get your book bags out and meet me on the carpet."  or "You have 3 minutes to clean up your station neatly and completely and meet me on the carpet."   Their reward?  A single Smartie... they love it.  The bulk of lost instructional time can take place during transitions.  Incidentally, this is also one of the hardest times for your behavior kiddos.   Keep them moving and your monkey business will be reduced.

Your challenge:  Break out your timer and use it faithfully for a few days.  You will be surprised at how much time you will save.

Hint #2:  Say it once and mean it.

At this point of the year, every one of my students know the expectations for their station work.   They know they need to stay at their station the whole time.  They know they can ask 3 before me if they get stuck.   So... why would accept off task behavior at their station... I don't.

In all fairness, I restate the expectations and the consequences at the beginning of EVERY station period.  If they are off task, they I simply ask them to clean up and I give them a VERY boring page to complete.  Right now, my literacy station offenders write word wall words... like a bunch!  They can return to stations once this is done. I do not accept slop and I will make them do it over again.

My math stations offenders write their numbers to 100.  I give them a 100 charts to look at.

NOTE:   After 2 days of using these, I did not need to use them any more.

I call the papers "So Sad".  They are not fancy or cute... But they are free!


We have all seen parents who repeat directions with their child over and over. Then,  it is only when the parent has completely lost it and is red faced and screaming that the child complies.  
This is not how you want your classroom to feel.

Your challenge:  Say it once and mean it.  When there is an offense,  you don't need to give a lecture, just simply hand them their paper to do.  Don't discuss. Don't negotiate. Stay calm.  Once the paper is done,  reteach the appropriate behavior and move on.

Finally celebrate and love your students every day! Know and trust that they can!   Resist that inner voice that says, "My class can't do that."  Set the expectation, stay positive, and it will happen.

If you try any of these, will you let me know how they work?

26 comments:

  1. I really love the timer idea Deedee...I think it would be a huge help. I'm always watching the clock, but you still lose track of time easily. Thank you!! :)

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  2. Thanks... I love this one. It is a little more expensive, but it such a visual for my kids.

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  3. Thanks for the tips. I do use a timer to keep me on track, but often struggled with kids who do not stay focused during station time. Thanks for the so sad papers. I think I will try to use these in the coming week.s

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    1. Great! Will you let me know how it works? Don't forget to mention this as a consequence before they start the station period. We joke around a bit and talk about what off task behavior would look like. Then I remind them that if they are acting like monkeys they will have to do the "big-fat-so-sad-boring-pages." They giggle...

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  4. I want to get one of those timers! Right now I tell me kiddos- "When the big hand is on the _(insert #)" you need to be at the carpet with your white board" or whatever. But what you said about mini lessons turning into MAXI lessons struck a chord with me- I need accountability! I couldn't get the link to the timer you posted to work..will google one though. Also- I love your "so sad" paper! Def trying it!! Do you send it home for the parents to see??

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    1. Sorry... I think I fixed the link.

      I have not sent the "So Sad" papers home. I thought about it...I think I would like to keep this at school. If I have a habitual re-offender, I think I might. I will just file the completed paper in the student's file for now (with the date on it).

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  5. LOVE the so sad sheet, totally using this! I will let you know how I like it!! Thank you!

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    1. GREAT!!! I can't wait to hear how it works. If you have repeat offenders, then it probably won't be the solution, but hopefully it nips it in the bud quickly.

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  6. You can also get one that is on your computer screen and put it up on smart board or the other board that starts with a P that is like a smart board - it works and you don't have to have batteries for it not sure where it can be found but I know its out there because one of my K colleagues in my district helped me and put it on the computer.
    Your advice is excellent and I like the idea of boring work for kids who are off task.
    One challenge I have are some of my little ones do not have the developed fine motor skills for some of the things that you are suggesting- they don't write their name yet. Our cut off date for Kindergarten is not until March 1 - so some of my students are not yet 5 ( a whole other issue I realize but a contributing factor ) Having said that clear expectations and being explicit is really important to work center success. I only wish that I had figured out some of this stuff earlier in my career.
    Thanks for the suggestions. Regards from Alberta Canada,
    Anna

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    1. Thanks Anna! That is so young! I wonder if your "boring papers" could be trace papers. Where they would trace lines,letters, or numbers. This might help them and be something they could be successful with? Because they are younger, yes, your expectations will have to change a bit.

      Let me know how it works.

      BTW: I have a Promethean board, but it takes mine like 35 seconds to open the program (yes, I am so OCD that I timed it...ha).

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    2. Dee dee, I am not OCD enough,sometimes, because I should have checked my paragraph for spelling errors and punctuation. Anyway, you got the gist of what I was saying. LOL
      I will have to try more tracing of the letters and numbers- they do need the practise, for sure! I like your idea that it is a sad paper. I try and keep a balance between helping them develop their fine motor skills, and using lots of hands out manipulatives, to engage their interests.
      Recently, I bought your sort and sequence unit. I have found some great stuff on TPT- some that I have paid for, but much that people like yourself, have given away as freebies. It is such a great way to add new ideas to one's bags of tricks.
      We do have lots of curriculum but not the core requirements like it is in the US. I find I use lots of material from the PreK sites, as it fits my program better. It is important to me to find new ways to challenge my little ones too. It is what keeps me fresh after 35 years of teaching!
      Regards, Anna

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    3. I would imagine the PreK curriculum would be fitting. Your babies can easily be 6 months younger if not more than mine. It is hard to compare the two developmentally. I am glad you have been able to find some useful resources. Good luck to you!

      BTW: I did not even notice the errors. I always seem to make them as well... so there is no need to worry!

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  7. Love your ideas Deedee! Thank you for sharing them! Heading to Amazon to find me a timer! :)
    Cheryl
    Crayons and Curls

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  8. You're classroom sounds exactly how mine is run. I feel the same way about literacy center expectations. They should know what is expected by now. I use 'ask 3 then me' as well and it seems to work. I LOVE the idea of the boring yet purposeful paper to complete to encourage the students to stay on task. Way to go DeeDee!

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  9. I looooooove your So Sad paper idea! I have a lot of offtask students during math stations and it drives me crazy because we discuss expectations before every station time. I will for sure try these!

    Marvelous Multiagers!

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  10. I have that timer in my class and I love it! Even more, my kiddos love it...they are always asking me to set it. Such a great idea to use in the classroom! Love all your ideas :)

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  11. love the timer! when my kids are off task I make them sit in the thinking chair They would like that paper too much!!! they LOVE writing word wall words, they do it on the back of every paper they do.

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  12. I whole heartedly agree with the timer! I use mine ALL the time! And thank you for the So Sad pages! I have been frustrated with my kids lately about not doing their jobs at centers and this is perfect! Can't wait to put it into effect on Thursday!

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  13. I need to start using my timer more!! Definitely guilty of the "maxi" lessons! And I love your so sad papers!! Definitely want to start something like that for my 4th graders!! Just need to create ones with 4th grade level tasks! :)

    Molly
    Lessons with Laughter

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    1. I'm glad you are going to give it a whirl... Let's see...4th grade?? Literacy-their spelling words? Math-multiplication facts?

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  14. I thought I saw on one of your postings that your next writing unit is on persuasive writing. WHen will it be ready for purchase?

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    1. Hi Linda! Yes, persuasive writing is our next focus. Deanna is putting the final touches on it and she plan to have it uploaded this weekend some time. Thank you!

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  15. Thanks for the So Sad sheets. Last week I had a few kids decide that they could switch centers. I remembered your blog and looked it up again. (I keep a notebook with helpful ideas from all of my fave bloggers with the dates, so I can go back to the original post if I need to.) These will be ready to go this week.

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  16. I am TOTALLY going to use the "So Sad Sheets!" Thanks so much for sharing your great ideas :)

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