Saturday, October 13, 2012

The First Five Minutes #EdChat #EdcampSWO

I've been paying close attention to my time management this year. I was curious how I used my time at the start and end of class. I want to be as efficient as possible and those times of a class period could run smoother.

I found something very interesting after looking at my classes for about 6 weeks. The first five minutes set the tone for the entire class. Here is what I'm talking about.

One approach had me jumping into the material the second the bell rang. I started rattling off the things we were going to cover for the day and all of the stuff they needed to have out and ready to go. I also would take attendance during this time. I was always amazed at how chatty all of the kids were and how many of them were not quite ready to go when I was.

I was very annoyed that my students couldn't get their crap together and be ready to go when I wanted them. I wanted to know what the problem was. I went to one of many meetings that teachers go to and I was just struck by something. What meetings start exactly on time discussing the business at hand? The first five minutes or so is all pleasantries. As adults, we like to talk and catch up on things going on in our lives. Depending on the meeting, some people might not have seen each other for days or weeks. Those five minutes are crucial to catch up, settle down and get in the right frame of mind for that meeting.

Why do we treat students differently? Some of these students haven't seen each other since the day before. I have found that by letting these students have these first five minutes has actually increased the work we get done. I walk around the room and talk with the students. Those five minutes allow me to engage and personally tell each table what we will be doing. I take attendance as I walk around and talk to the students. By the time that five minute catchup period ends, the students are ready to go.

I have learned so much about my students from talking with them and sharing ideas. These five minutes have become a fun part of my class and my kids like the talk time as well. Those connections I have made during those five minutes have made a lasting impact on student engagement and relationships. It is something I really encourage all teachers to look at implementing in their class.

How do you start your class?