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The 3 Biggest Classroom Time Management Killers

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Teachers are constantly striving to create an engaging learning environment for students. While we devote so much time to preparing the best lessons for our students, how much time is devoted to developing effective classroom time management strategies? A lack of structure robs teachers and students of valuable instructional time. Here are three major classroom time management problems and how to nip them in the bud.

Unclear Procedures

A classroom without defined procedures can become a time management nightmare for teachers. Imagine how you would feel if you walked into a classroom and had no idea what to expect on a daily basis. It would be chaotic and hard to learn in that environment. Establishing clear procedures is essential to an effective classroom and can prevent classroom time management problems. World-renowned educator and speaker Harry Wong said it best: "The number one problem in the classroom is not discipline; it is the lack of procedures and routines."

At the beginning of the school year, I make a point to emphasize the procedures our class will follow. It's important that everyone understands the flow of our classroom. My students know where to look for unit assignments and activities, what they should be doing while I'm taking attendance, and how to find course information. Establishing clear procedures right off the bat can prevent many problems with time management, allowing instructional time to be used for learning!

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Resource Sharing Confusion

I'm so fortunate to be able to teach in a technology-rich environment. My students use a lot of websites in my classroom daily, including a learning management system, Google Classroom, Google Drive, Kahoot, Nearpod, EDpuzzle, and more! These are obviously a lot of resources to manage. Can you imagine how much time would be wasted if every time I asked students to go to a specific website, I had to wait for them to find it, likely cycling through multiple attempts at correctly spelling the URL. What a nightmare!

Instead, I have my students create a bookmark folder in Google Chrome where they can add all the websites we use. This tip has saved tons of instructional time because my students are able to listen to instructions and quickly locate the resource(s) needed for that class period. Even if you don't teach in a one-to-one environment like I do, you can still benefit from easily sharing course resources with your class. Consider creating a 411 bulletin board that includes important resources that students can readily access or hanging posters that direct students to specific resources.

Rocky Transitions

Sometimes, transitioning from one activity to another can cause classroom chaos. If students are confused about the next activity, it can lead to a total breakdown of classroom management. Picture this: You've planned an amazing lesson using stations that are designed to appeal to all types of learners. It's going to be an awesome lesson! However, you haven't determined how students will rotate between stations or the time that should be spent at each station. As you attempt to regain your students' attention to rotate to the next station, you are met with cries of concern. "What are we doing now?" "Do I stay with my group?" "Which station do I go to now?" "She's not in my group!"

There are many ways to remedy problems with transitions. Consider using a timer to help students realize that it's time to move to another activity. I've found that including clear, written instructions that I display on my whiteboard and share via Google Classroom also helps ease potential transition disruptions. Using "callbacks" or signal words is another technique you can use to remind or alert students about transitions. One of my favorite callbacks is calling out, "Stop! Collaborate!" My students reply with, "And listen!" (As a child of the 90s, I sometimes have trouble not just rapping the whole song!) Teachers could also use something more traditional like, "One, two, three; eyes on me" to signal a transition.

Classroom time management problems plague all teachers. But with these tips, you can minimize disruptions and effectively utilize your instructional time!


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