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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Classroom Time Management--A MUST for Common Core Lessons!

For teachers already actively engaged in common core lessons as well as those new to implementing them, they all must grapple with time management:)  How does a teacher release students to project based learning activities built on the lesson concepts without total mayhem setting in?  After all, no learning can take place if students are not trained on how to use their time wisely. 

Spending the first 3-4 weeks of a new school year familiarizing students with class rules and repercussions for breaking them is time well spent.  Once students know the limits, they learn to respect them. That in place, the class is ready to undertake the exciting tasks awaiting them in common core based lessons.

So, setting limits to speech noise levels, time to complete academic tasks, think-pair-share activities, cooperative learning projects, etc. can easily be accomplished by using a timer.  When students hear the timer go off, they know that they have 30 seconds to complete their conversation.  Once the timer has gone off and the class is quiet, the teacher can do random call-ons to see how well the groups tackled the task.

Holding every student accountable to produce work is crucial if they are to do well on final projects.  Calling on volunteers is not effective since those students already know the answers.  It is necessary to take the pulse of entire class learning by calling on those students who don't raise their hands.  If they understand, the lesson is effective.  However, if after calling on 4 or more students who don't know the answer, the teacher knows to re-present the material in a different way to make sure that every student grasps key concepts.

This video on classroom time management  does an excellent job in showing the before and after of a lesson by a new teacher.  Though the teacher being filmed is new, what she learns here with support from her department chair and instructional coach could help any teacher regardless of the number of years spent in the classroom. 

As teachers watch this clip, they can either congratulate themselves for already doing such activities, or contemplate adjusting instructional activities to create a more effective learning environment for students.

Denise

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