Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Tool for Maximizing Instructional Time

A priority for classroom teachers is to maximize instructional time.  Since I am a big believer in the workshop model, I need to ensure student interruptions are at a minimum while I work with my small groups.  I know mostly everyone is now on summer break, but I hope some of you can use this tool next school year.

So how does it work?
During reading, math, or writing workshop when the teacher is working with a small group we expect students to stay in 1 spot once they pick a spot that is best for their learning.  Staying in 1 spot is an expectation for Daily 5, too.  To minimize interruptions, if a student has a to use the bathroom (emergency), injury, or is sick, they grab a card and hand it to the teacher.  When they hand the card to the teacher, they explain what they need. When their needs are resolved, they return the card to its spot and resume with their task.  The cards are meant to serve as a visual and provide clear structure for students.

This can be modified based on the needs of your classroom.  You can use it all school year or as needed. I started using it this spring after a grade level collaboration meeting and it was proven to be effective with my students once implemented.  Since I had many ELL students, the visual met everyone's needs.  Many teachers create anchor charts with their class when establishing procedures, this is an easy follow up to one of those lessons.

**My teammate came up with this idea.  It is not my original idea.**

How did I make this for my classroom?
I used Google Images to find a picture for each category (bathroom, injury, sick).  When I found an image I liked, I printed and laminated.  I place the cards in a common area of the classroom that is accessible.

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