Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Save Time and Save Your Sanity

Scenario: You are constantly rushing at school only to find yourself falling farther and farther behind. Every teacher you know seems to feel the same way. The hectic pace is really taking its toll.

Your goal: To free yourself from the stress of the constant rush of a typical school day

Quick Tips: You can save time with some of these strategies.

• Create assignments for student viewing when you preview films or Internet sites.

• Never lose your classroom keys because you keep them in the same location each day.

• Have an up-to-date set of emergency plans ready—just in case.

• Keep your school email folders organized.

• Use a daily “To Do” list you keep on your desk in a bright, easy-to-see folder.

• Teach class routines for activities such as handing in papers, sharpening pencils, or disposing of trash.

• Set up equipment early just in case there are problems.

• Give clear directions to your students so you do not have to repeat them.

• Maintain order in your classroom so you do not have to spend time dealing with behavior problems.

• Learn how to use school equipment efficiently.

• Use a checklist or rubric to grade papers quickly.

• Teachers students how to tidy their work area and pack their materials.

• Don’t arrive too early or too late to meetings or duty assignments.

• Keep receipt books and the other materials you need to collect money on hand.

Still feeling rushed?

In fifteen minutes you can:

• Grade the objective portion of a set of test papers.

• Create a quiz.

• Create a review sheet.

• Answer e-mail.

• Create motivational activities for the entire week.

• Post homework assignments to your class Web page.

• Find at least one helpful Web site to enrich your students’ learning.

• Create a crossword puzzle for fun and reviewing.

In ten minutes you can:

• Call a parent or guardian.

• Write a lesson plan.

• Grade some essay questions.

• Average grades.

• Check homework papers.

• Create a quick diagnostic measure to check prior knowledge.

• Create a model or example for students to use as they work.

In five minutes you can:

• Create a dynamic closing exercise.

• Write a positive note and send it home.

• Make notes on your “To Do” list for the next school day.

• Write a quick reflection about what went well and what you need to tweak in a lesson.

• Use the hole punch on a set of papers so students can stay organized.

• Write a positive comment on at least five papers.

• Review key points in a lesson.

In three minutes you can:

• Record grades.

• Drill your students with flashcards.

• Put stickers on a set of papers.

• Display student work.

• Praise a class for good behavior.

• Have students write an evaluation of the day’s lesson.

• Show a motivational slide show.

In one minute you can:

• Erase the board.

• Display a cartoon about the day’s lesson.

• Have students tidy the room.

• Select the student of the day or week.

• Write an inspirational message on the board.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Here is a quick exerpt from Discipline Survival Guide for the Secondary Teacher. I hope it will make it easier for you to manage your classes as winter break looms and students become more restless than ever.

"Classroom teachers spend their days bombarded by a steady stream of requests from students who want to go to the restroom, the office, a locker, the clinic, or to call home, open a window, shut a window, sharpen pencils, and hear the directions just one more time. Fielding these entreaties tactfully requires that we make quick decisions not only about whether the request is a sound one, but also how our response will affect the entire class as well as the student making it.

One of the most useful skills that a secondary teacher can develop is the ability to refuse a student’s request without causing offense. Although it may seem impossible, this is not as difficult as it appears. Instead of abruptly refusing, try one of the statements or questions below. Each one is designed to deny a student request in a pleasant, non-confrontational way that preserves the student’s dignity.

• Let me think about that for a little while.

• Let’s talk about that after class.

• Let’s finish this first.

• I don’t think this is really necessary at this time.

• I don’t think that is the best decision because…

• Are you sure that’s a wise choice?

• What do you think?

• Could you give me a moment?

• Can this wait?

• What are the pros and cons involved in your request?

• How are you planning to do that?

• How will you accomplish that?

• Can you tell me what that would not work?

• Would you ask me again in a moment?

• Have you finished your assignment?

• How will that help you achieve your goal?

• Who else have you asked about this?

• Are you sure that’s wise?

• Why don’t you give that some more thought?

• Why are you asking?"