Is it just me or is there never enough time in the day? This year, the teachers at my school (International School of Morocco) have all decided to “buy” some more time by turning transition times into learning time. Because we are all on board, the kids are on board, so it is easy to keep it up. Here are the some of the things we are doing:
1.) Recite and Walk – each teacher has something that their class is working on reciting, a rhyme, a poem, their numbers etc. So, as we transition from one place to another we recite these things. If we are inside, we are sure to whisper these things, but outside we sing loudly and event chant. This week the whole school is reciting a song that we will be singing to the parents.
2.) Count On Before You Move – While the younger students are working on basic counting and counting by 10’s, grades 1-4 are working on counting in lots of different ways like counting by 10’s from random numbers (12, 24, 18 etc.) or counting backwards by 5’s. No matter how we are counting, we have stopping points around the school and as we walk, we stop at these points, and count on. The first student saying 14, the next 24, the next 34 and so on.
3.) Questions Out the Door – In order to enter or exit my classroom, you must answer a question. I generally connect these questions to what we are working on in math, but I’ve been known to throw in some grammar and science too! I keep the questions to things I want students to be able to answer quickly, so that we aren’t standing forever. Sometimes we work on math facts, other times we work on doubling or halving numbers (What is half of 40?), or converting within measurements (How many centimeters are in 5 meters?). Lately my kids favorite is to give me the part of speech of a word. I give them a sentence, (ie. The boys ran down the hall.) and then ask for the part of speech of a specific word (What part of speech is ran?)
4.) Talk at Meal Time – We eat both snack and lunch with our students. During this time, we talk to our students – a lot! Sometimes it is just general chatter, but we also talk about food names, manners, the names of food in other languages, nutrition etc. While this doesn’t always connect to what we are learning in the classroom, we tend to use this time to build background knowledge, and morale with our students, so that makes the teaching time more efficient too.
Do you have any secrets to “buying” more learning time in a day?