Today I picked up my Erin Condren teacher planner to review what we had done that week. I found this:
Nothing was written. Dang. As I flipped back, I realized I have not used my planner since coming back from Christmas Break. Dang. I need to bring back the daily activities that implemented at the beginning of the school year.
After reading Patricia Gustin’s post on Habits: Cues, Response, Reward I decided I need to reenergize my daily classroom routine. On day 84 of the school year, I have lost the habitual tasks that my students and I used to perform. Currently we have an assignment to complete, and the activities to complete that assignment feels very rushed, with no attempt at a wrap up or conclusion at the end of the class period.
What do I need in the routine ?
- entry task/attendance/announcements
- exit ticket/clean
I have decided to investigate the following Problem Statement: Will having a set classroom routine improve efficient use of class time? This will be both from the teacher and the student perspective.
I did a great job of writing the tasks on the board for the kids to see. The first three classes accomplished everything we set out to do. Floral design did not have their homework done, partly due to missing pieces of their dodecahedron needed to finish it, and the other half, just did not work on it over the weekend. As we were catching up on that, I forgot about the exit ticket, and we ran out of time. Also did not have time to do the gallery walk with the dodecahedrons. Erasable ink for the win- moving that to tomorrow.
I wrote all tasks on the board, and what really helped was a suggestion from the comment section in Patricia’s blog to assign a student to remind me when it is time to start the exit ticket task.
“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” –John Steinbeck via Robert Burns
I had to write a set of emergency lesson plans last night as my two year old son was up all night with the flu. I do believe having a routine in place really made it easy to write my lesson plans. I was able to access documents from home, and email the entire day’s plans to the principal, complete with entry and exit tasks.
I am hit! Down with the flu myself. My lesson plans were not as thorough today, but I am hoping the prior set of plans will help me pull this off. I am interested to hear from the principal (who subbed for me on Wednesday) and the sub, how the routine and daily schedule played out. I want to ask them if the students had to be prompted in Ag Science to do their entry task, as it is a set of questions pre written that they work on throughout the week (so they should know what to expect). I want to know if the floral class completed their exit tickets as I used a worksheet from http://thecrazysciencelady.com/2015/07/theres-always-room-for-improvement/ that allowed them to choose one strategy each day, so they also should know what is expected of them.
I am back in class today! Finals week is a terrible time to be gone. As soon as I opened my door this morning I had students lined up. I wish they had this much enthusiasm about their grades during the previous 89 days! Today was only a half day to complete any make up tests for finals. We did not have traditional classes today.
Conclusion: This was a terrible week to gauge students’ efficient use of class time. I can report that having a routine definitely improves my planning time and keeps me organized and on track during the class period.
I need more time to continue implementing the routine so that it actually becomes a routine. This week it was just more of introducing an idea that we played with. Some students knew what was expected of them, while the others wasted time visiting while the substitutes were in the classroom. However, the problem of students working with a sub in the room could have a variety of causes, not specifically tied to my routines.
My goal in reflecting on this process over the coming weeks is to have a system down that both the students and I know and do: the students come in, grab their notebooks for their entry task, complete that during attendance, conduct announcements/hand papers back, move on to the daily task, have time for a review through the format of an exit ticket, and still have time to push their chairs in when the bell rings.
What routines help you to maximize the learning time in the classroom?