Classroom time management is more important than ever with the arrival of Common Core and the continuation of high stakes testing. We as teachers must look for creative ways to make every instructional minute count in order to make the best use of the time we have with our students.
One way to maximize this time is to engage students in aesthetic activities which will extend their memory tracks and increase the time they spend focusing. Music, dance, and art activities don’t have to take a lot of time, and they insure that students spend more time on task in the long run.
There are other strategies for classroom time management which can help make the most of the time you have with your students. Here are some ideas for sixth grade math which can be adapted to other grade levels.
By using a rectangle with decimal dimensions I am able to teach area and multiplication with decimals in the same problem. Using a formula to do so ( A=L x W ) and having students substitute values covers still another Common Core objective – that of evaluating expressions.
This is a more authentic way to learn decimal multiplication because it places it in a real world context.
Typically I find that children are unfamiliar with metric measurements because they never use them. As much as my kids love our Star Wars sabers, it is hard for me to put the boring meter stick in rotation for our word wall games. I am doing it this year, though, because it gives us regular opportunities to talk about how many cm are in a meter, etc. It makes sense to me that my kids can really internalize how long these measurements are through our conversations and regular use.
Another objective I am integrating into our regular schedule is statistics. Whenever I am ready to give back a set of test papers, we first make a stem and leaf with our class’s scores. I never announce names but call out just the scores to fill in the “leaves” on the graph.
Before this year we have figured just the mean, median, mode, and range of the scores. But with the advent of Common Core standards, this year we are taking it a step further by creating a box plot each time, figuring the quartiles and interquartile range.
By making this a part of our regular routine, students will already be familiar with this new standard without my devoting time to a separate unit on the subject.
Students love graphing data that has something to do with them so I am always looking for opportunities to collect some. Daily attendance and/or lunch choices for the average class has just enough data to make a really good dot plot that will have meaning for students.
There is no better classroom time management technique than to plan quality activities to be completed after students complete a test. Two activities that are ideal for this “found” time are art projects and word wall activities.
I create simple rubrics for each assignment so that students will know exactly what I am looking for, and I discuss the rubric beforehand so that they can begin as soon as they complete the test.
Some of our projects include:
Arc Picture by 6th grade student
Projects are almost always due in two weeks so students can
learn some classroom time management of their own!
Word wall activities
Working with words from the math word wall is always time well
spent. Our favorite activities to do after tests are:
Reviewing math concepts previously taught is important in maintaining skills in the math classroom. Rather than taking time for lengthy reviews, I have found that word wall games are perfect for continuous review and efficient classroom time management. They save time in the long run and keep skills sharp.
LET THE FORCE BE WITH YOU
With all this talk about Time Management, there are some things which we all must take the time to do:
and from Dr. Mengert
How would you complete this sentence?