Sunday, October 3, 2010

Timing Activities is My New Favorite Thing

About a week ago in first period, I gave instructions for students to trim then add pages to their notebook. Students took their time, worked at their own pace, and it was a complete disaster. I had allotted about 3 minutes for students to do this, but never communicated that to them, so notebook set-up took more like 8 or 9 minutes. Ineffective use of time.

As I was watching the students work slowly, I realized I had never communicated my expectations for time. During second period, I added to the directions, "you have 3 minutes to complete this and the time starts now." Then I put up a countdown stopwatch from and paced students by announcing the time remaining every 30-45 seconds.

It's amazing how including this visual timer has really improved the pacing of my lessons.