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?