Managing a classroom is never easy — even for the most seasoned and experienced educators. Even more, every class of students is different, and a great strategy that works with one group may not necessarily work with the next. That’s why it’s smart to build a toolbox full of strategies so you can change up your routine to find out what works for the students you’re teaching right now.
If you have six minutes, we have six strategies you can learn today and try tomorrow for a more focused and well-managed classroom.
Do your students have a habit of interrupting one-on-one or small group learning time for “emergency” attention? Take a look at how Mary Abdul Wajid manages interruptions and teaches her students to recognize important learning time using the Three Bs.
Do you have a strategy for effectively and consistently grabbing your students’ attention? Watch as Nick Romagnolo teaches his students to expect direction from one spot in the room — every time.
Handing out materials has the potential to be a recipe for chaos in the classroom. How do you keep your students engaged and motivated during this sometimes tedious task? Take a tip from Leah Alcala and make it a competition!
Even when you can capture their attention, it’s sometimes difficult to keep students focused and on-task. Do your students really understand how a few lost minutes matter in the long run? Check out how Chris McCloud helps his students understand how seconds count in the classroom.
How do you provide structure and expectations for students as they learn to be efficient and productive? Time limits will help you keep your students focused on the task at hand. Watch how Dr. Melina Johnson enhances her students’ productivity — and her own — by consistently timing tasks.
Being on-task and focused can be a challenge for students. It’s important to remember that they aren’t going to be interested in every lesson we teach. And it’s not difficult to understand how students can be a bit “fidgety” after sitting in a row of desks all day long. Watch as Mary Dwyer describes how a little physical break in the learning has the potential to revive the room and restore student focus and attention.
What tips and tricks help you keep students focused and on-task? How do you keep interruptions at bay? Let us know what works for you in the comments below.
Lisa Hollenbach is Editorial Content Manager for Teaching Channel. She’s a former high school Social Studies teacher and Department Chair, an adjunct professor, working with pre-service social studies teachers and behavioral science students, and serves as a mentor for the Teacher Leadership program at Mt. Holyoke College. Lisa is passionate about storytelling, teacher voice and leadership, collaboration, innovative instruction, social learning, and redefining professional development. Lisa is a member of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Teacher Advisory Council, several ECET2 Steering Committees, and is a Co-Founder, Director, and Writing Coach for the National Blogging Collaborative, a non-profit organization that cultivates and supports the capacity of all educators to use their unique voice to elevate the craft of teaching and learning. Lisa leads the Collaborative in engagement and social media storytelling. Connect with Lisa on Teaching Channel, on her blog, or on Twitter: @lisa_hollenbach.