Every day your students spend a significant amount of time transitioning from one activity to another. If they are in school for 7 hours, and they spend five to 10 minutes transitioning several times a day, you could add nearly another class period to the time they spend learning new material and reviewing. Maximize the time that your students have at school to focus on learning by maximizing transition time. While students need brain breaks, you can make transition times a time for students actively learn.
Minimize You can maximize learning overall in your class by lowering the amount of time that it takes students to move from one activity to the next. Set expectations by giving students clear step-by-step directions. At the start of the school year offer fewer steps at once, then add-on as soon as students show they are ready. Finally, empower students to take responsibility for transition time.
Utilize While you tend to administrative work students should be working on a task that builds logic, critical thinking, or vocabulary skills. This time is the perfect opportunity to develop social skills. Students can work in small groups to solve a brainteaser or play a vocabulary game. The start of the day is terrific to pique students’ interest and build critical thinking skills as well. Write a brief statement about an upcoming lesson to prompt student questions. For example, the statement “Cells can not be seen with the naked eye.” may prompt questions such as, “How do we know cells are there if we can’t see them?” or “If they’re so small how do they work?” Employ questions to drive instruction and students may use questions to kick-off small research projects.
Maximize Any teacher knows it’s a challenge to anticipate how long students will take to complete a task. Students who complete a task much sooner than other students should be given the opportunity to maximize productive learning. Prepare for this situation with a menu of choices students may refer to independently. Create opportunities for students to participate in activities they perceive as fun while they learn. Many students enjoy drawing, so offer a chance to represent a current concept with illustrations complete with captions, or write an Instagram post complete with a picture (drawing or photo) to post on the class account.
There is so much to learn; it’s important to make every minute count while maintaining a positive and upbeat environment in the classroom.
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Michelle is currently in her 20th year of teaching. She is endorsed in language arts, math, social studies, science, and English Language Learning. She is also the founder of Evolved Educator. Michelle lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children.
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