by Christina Aronen, Guest Blogger
Teachers can save time for learning experiences and train students to manage many of the everyday classroom tasks for themselves. Here are a few ideas for just how to do that!
- Students can work as teams to keep classroom problems to a minimum. Laminate a colorful sticker chart for each student. Have table groups or rows work together to keep each other in line with expectations by numbering each group. On the board, write a number for each group. Place a tally mark by each number as you notice one team mate making positive choices. Those that are not making positive choices notice and will often make better choices as a result. As a group, students often remind their table mates to get on board with positive choices. The group that receives the most tally marks in the end may all receive a sticker on their charts. Students who receive more than one verbal reminder from the teacher must remove one sticker themselves and place it in a designated place. When a student receives 20 stickers, they may visit a prize box and receive a new sticker chart.
- Teaching moments are wasted as a teacher passes papers out to the class. Use a 10 x 14 plastic basket for each table group or place one near each row. In each basket, place as many different colored file folders as you have subject worksheets for the day. In each folder, place as many worksheets as you have students per group or row. For instance, if a table group has six students, place six math worksheets or packets in a red folder. Place six phonics worksheets in a blue folder. Do this for each type of worksheet used. Assign a Table Manager or Row Manager. After directions are given, Table Managers are to remove the subject folder from the basket and pass the papers to their group. After the assignment is completed, the Table Manager collects the papers and places them back in the same file they came from and places that file at the bottom, under all the other files. As the day ends, the files will return to their original order and can be placed by the Table Manager at a designated space for grading. The teacher simply takes the papers and replaces them with new papers for the next day’s activities.
3. Missing materials always slow a classroom. Place pencil baskets in strategic locations. Fill these with items that students are often in short supply of such as pencils or glue sticks. If a student is missing an item, instead of stopping the teacher to ask for an item, or distracting another student to borrow something, the student simply takes what is needed from the basket. At the end of the day, a Materials Manager can scan for leftover consumable materials and drop them in the community baskets until the owner retrieves them. If they are not spoken for, leave them for community use.
- Early finishers can continue the learning process and not distract others if they know what to do once they finish their work. Use a plastic 8 1/2 x 11 envelope and a 10 x 14 plastic basket. Place “Early Finisher” work inside each plastic envelope. As each student finishes a project, have them turn it into the plastic basket. They can then pick up their envelope and “Early Finisher” work. Students that do not complete projects in the given time but need to clean up in order to move on to the next task can simply place project materials inside the envelope alongside the “Early Finisher” paper and complete it at a designated time.
Teachers train students in many ways. Students that are taught early to manage themselves can allow the entire classroom to have many more meaningful learning experiences.
About the Author
Christina Aronen has been enjoying teaching kindergarten for 8 years. She has a Master’s degree with a focus on multicultural and social justice. She is trained in the Slingerland method of reading and spelling and is a certified Orton-Gillingham tutor for students that struggle with dyslexia and dysgraphia. Christina is currently participating in the MERIT (Making Education Relevant and Interactive through Technology) program for teachers. She shares her ideas with fellow teachers at Sea Bear’s Kindergarten.