Can I waste less time in class?
This is a top challenge I put on myself every day. Do you waste class time? I kept track of how many minutes in one day I waited for the class to settle down, get quiet, enter the room. The count was high, and the older kids were worse than the younger kids.
This tells me two things 1. I am wasting valuable teaching time waiting for silence 2. the way we are working with our students to transition from class to class or activity to activity is not working.
I don't have all the answers, but I have an observation to share with you. With both my 3rd grade class and my kindergarten classes, I have been using GoNoodle warmups. In kindergarten we use “Field Trip” and in 3rd grade, we have been using Maximo or one of the “focus” and “calm” centered videos. I discovered that if I start the video playing as the kids enter the room they drop their bags and stuff where they should, mostly, and get into position. The kids are immediately engaged in the activity, and since the video is directing students I can finalize set up for the main lesson.
What's In It For Me?
In this simple act of not asking and waiting for quiet to “hit play” I have regained up to 4 minutes, approaching 10% of my available teaching time.
I don't always have this option, but when I can start the class as the students arrive I enjoy the class more because I have not begun our time together with corrections, admonishments, or reminders.
The end of class routine needs work. On the worst days we wait for the kids to get quiet, then we line up, then we wait for quiet, then we dismiss. In one class we were able to dismiss kids directly to lunch, so the teacher had each student share something they learned as an exit ticket. This allowed the students to leave at their own pace without everyone waiting for silence.
A Celebration of Voices
My philosophy is this: silence is hard work for teachers and students, it also stops participation cold. The classroom is and should be a celebration of voices. I need to stop wasting time in class waiting for silence, which I want at times but do not truly value it in the classroom.
Silence is about compliance, engaged listening is about communication.
Do you use GoNoodle in your class?
We would love to learn how you are using GoNoodle in your classroom. Please leave a comment below and share your story with us.