In the past 3 years, I have had the pleasure of working alongside classroom teachers in a pk-6 grade elementary school. Most of my collaboration and coaching focuses around making tomorrow better. Through those conversations I have narrowed down 4 things that a teacher can do to make tomorrow better.
Identify the Most CRUCIAL Routine
Whole group instruction or sometimes referred to as ‘carpet time’, guided reading and work zones, or even intervention could be considered. The most important thing about the identification is that it is focused on student success.
‘What routine is going to have the most impact?”
“What routine is going to make your day better?”
Explicitly reteach routines, model and practice
I don’t care if it is the 8th week of school, the 2nd six weeks or April, if routines are being executed in a sloppy manner – it is time to explicitly reteach, model and practice. EVERY routine- from lining up, going to the carpet, cleaning up work zones, turning in assignments, independent reading etc…
Put academic content to the side for 1 day and explicitly reteach what that routine Looks Like, Sounds Like, and Feels Like- ( you will get that time back) If this is not your first time teaching this routine – allow students to provide you with this information as you guide them toward what YOU want to see. And every single time you reteach this routine- place a brand new poster or anchor chart on the wall that showcases what students said.
Vary your instructional Delivery or Strategy
“If the bum is numb so is the brain”
Allow students to get up, move, turn and talk, share-out, draw, dance, write
Allow students to let you know and show you how they learn best. What strategies help them learn? If you don’t know, ASK.
Use the gradual release teaching method and focus your instruction on 1 objective. Then, ask yourself “How are the students going to show me they’ve learned that objective?”
Structure your classroom for success
Invest in a timer – Remember that students can listen for a limited amount of time (take their age and add 2 minutes) For example; a 5 year old can listen for 7 minutes. If the student is interested in a task, then they can maintain attention with that activity for 10-15 minutes. Classroomscreen.com
Be proactive– If you are going to ask students to complete an exit ticket on a post-it note- have these ready. If students are going to sit at a carpet- make sure that there is plenty of room, space and visibility. If students are going to refer to an article throughout your lesson, make sure it is visible to all students to reference.
Think through the scenarios of your lesson- what could possibly go wrong, what could possibly be asked, what misconceptions or schema will I need to clarify?
Even if you just focus on 1 of these changes tomorrow, you are going to see a big difference in your classroom.
I’d love to know if you try any of these strategies and how they work for you in your classroom. Please share and comment.