Saved By The Bell

Saved by the Bell

Saved by the Bell!

Before we continue, I have to let you know that this is rocket science or a breakthrough in classroom management 😉 As a teacher, I have a pretty even keeled temperament. That being said, it’s never a good thing to raise your voice too much inside a classroom. First things first, nobody likes to be yelled at, kid or adult. Second, raising your voice happens, but make sure it doesn’t happen too often. Thirdly, dinging a bell is much easier. This is a new strategy that I’ve tried out this year. I didn’t want to have to contend for attention or be confrontational when trying to get my class back on task.

Things to remember, you will have to raise your voice or change the tone of your voice at some point in time. That being said, if you establish expectations for when the bell is rung, rational individuals will comply. I let my students know that I don’t like yelling and/or raising my voice in class at the beginning of the year. In an effort to prevent the before-mentioned, I needed them to know when the bell rings, it’s time to regain focus and/or their attention. For the most part, it works. It’s by no means a fool proof idea.

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Egg timers aren’t for cooking in the classroom…

Egg Timers keep the classroom moving...

Egg Timers keep the classroom moving…

I cannot recall how I came up with the idea to use an egg timer to keep things moving in my classroom, but I’m sure it was in a practicum class during my teacher certification program. One thing I do know, this is by no means an original idea. I have a total of 60 minutes for each class period. One might think, seems like myriad of time, so what’s the rush? Indeed it’s a lot of time, but I like to use all 60 minutes in an effective fashion. That being the case, if I don’t monitor my time correctly, I would fail at that task. I could just look at a clock on the wall, but I don’t have one. The no clock thing wasn’t intentional. However, during my first year, I realized I had a few “clock watchers.” I used to be one myself during my younger days from time to time, so I wasn’t offended. It’s important to note, this isn’t a fool proof method of time management. There have been times that I have run out of time in the classroom due to student discussions, direct instruction comprehension issues, or extended question & answer segments in class.

I’m digressing – let’s get to the method itself. There are a couple of reasons that I use an egg timer, but it’s mostly about time management in the classroom, but it also has a level of behavior management which usually go hand in hand. In order to give you better insight as to how a typical Language Arts/Literature class goes, I will layout the schedule as follows: bell work to start class in which in which I take attendance & settle kids (5 – 7 minutes total), daily reading comprehension worksheets in which instruction is given w/ a 5 minute per sheet (2) time frame as well as a call and response for comprehension check (12-15 minutes total), popcorn reading of current reading selection while using active note taking skills (30-35 minutes total), and a reading journal w/ comprehension check as ticket out of class (10-12 minutes total). As you can see, these are typical time frames in which I keep the class moving forward to meet the varying objective(s) for the day. As mentioned earlier, this isn’t a fool proof system, but having an egg timer to keep yourself on the tight schedule helps. That being said, I have to be flexible because if I’m not, it doesn’t leave extra time for student interaction and/or extra questions. To simplify, every time we move forward in class, it’s done so on a time table that is monitored by the old trusty egg timer.

The second reason I use the egg timer in class is for the fact that it helps with classroom behavior management. Students Continue reading