Monday, April 23, 2012

Clock Watchers

"If you want students to know something, paste it near the clock" (unknown). Do you have clock watchers in your classroom? It's hard to keep students engaged, especially as the end of the school year draws near. Here are some tips to help engage students as the countdown to summer begins:

1. The 20 minute rule--remember that attention spans wonder after 20 minutes, so keep lectures or mini-lessons short.

2. Use icebreaker techniques, or motivators, as comprehension checks. For example: after a mini-lesson, ask students to pair up and, in one minute explain one main point from the lesson. 

3. Use peer tutoring techniques. Pre-plan groups and assign by skill levels so that peer tutoring takes place. Students learn best through social interaction. Also, it's true that if students can teach concepts to others then they have mastered skills. 

4. Have a "Hobby Day" and let students sign-up for blocks of time to teach their favorite hobbies to classmates. You'll be surprised what you, and students, will learn!

5. Take lessons outdoors. Go outdoors to read, to do character sketches on sidewalks, to enjoy journal writings, to take building measurements, or to do science experiments.

Regardless of how you conquer clock watching, make learning engaging and enjoyable!

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