Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Few Teacher Tips That Save Classroom Instructional Time

Are there times when you wish you had more instructional time in the day?  It always seems like we can use more time.  Imagine if we could buy time!  Well… I know we can’t, but I like when I am able to get through planned assignments each day. 

There’s nothing like a class running on all cylinders.  The students know the routine and all expectations are understood.  If you can minimize the distractions, then the learning time will probably increase.

These are a few things I do to allow for more instructional time:

  • Whenever we are leaving the class for some sort of break, the students must get the next lesson’s materials ready before we leave.  If we just finished math, they need to get all things language arts ready before they leave the class. 
  • You can always clock the transitional time and see if they can beat the previous record.  You can do this with any subject area.
  • You can use a musical prompt and students have to be ready to go by the end of the song.
  • Appoint a student as the time- keeper for lessons.  This student can give you a nonverbal or verbal cue to wrap up the lesson if needed.
  • Hand signals always seem to cut down on tangents or off topic discussions.  Have you ever asked a question and a student starts going off topic by talking about his grandmother visiting? The response has nothing to do with the question asked.  The domino theory ensues and the other students jump in with other comments.  My Dad can do a mean Donald Duck Impression.  My sister found a penny in our driveway.  My neighbor bought a pogo stick.  Before long, you have no idea what you asked in the first place.  We’ve all had these days. They are kids and this is what they do from time to time.  In most cases, it’s grade level appropriate. 
  • Through the years I’ve picked up some ideas to ease the off topic comments.  We use hand signals to stop the barrage.  The hang loose sign means I need to use the restroom.  The formation of a C in your hand means I have a comment and a clenched fist means my pencil broke.  The number one sign means quiet time. 
  • When I hold up the 1,2,3 counting hand signal, they know to get ready.  One means to sit up straight. Two means all eyes are on me. Three means you need to be in a great listening position with no distractions.

Please feel free to share any ideas.  I’d love to hear your great strategies.



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