As the new school year approaches, I have been thinking about establishing procedures in the classroom that will keep things running smoothly and will limit the interruptions to learning.
Things to think about:
- passing out papers
- collecting assignments
- bathroom/drink breaks
- sharpening pencils
- distributing lab materials/supplies
- missing assignments/incomplete work
- items forgotten in locker
- determining partners/groups
- absent students
- iPad/laptop use
- behavior concerns
- switching classes
- hand-raising/student needing assistance
Each moment spent handling one of these tasks can mean time taken away from my students. I would love to hear your suggestions. Please share any procedures that work well in your classroom.
Every teacher has seen a situation like this: The students are supposed to pass papers behind them, but “accidentally” drop all the papers and need to get up from their desks to pick papers up. Or while turning around in their seats to pass papers, students decide to begin conversations with classmates seated behind them. These brief moments add up to lots of wasted time during the day.
This seems like such a small idea, but it makes so much sense in the classroom. Pass papers across the rows, instead of asking students to pass papers to the classmates seated behind them.
I first became aware of this technique in Doug Lemov’s book, Teach Like a Champion. As I read about it, I could easily see how this small change in the classroom could make a noticeable difference in the time needed to distribute materials and could limit disruptions during class. I have implemented this simple procedure in my classes and believe it is a valuable technique for teachers to try.