Something Borrowed, Something New

4 Nov

This week was a week for experiments. We tried something new during the transition periods and during read to self. Both seem to help my students learn better.

Transition times were a little rough. Students would be all over the place looking at things around the room or continuing to do the previous task. Tammy and I were constantly having to tell the students to stop what they were doing and get ready for the next lesson. We had a little timer laying around so we started using it. I tell the students what they need to put away, get out, and where they need to be sitting next. After they get all of the directions, I set the timer. We are not sure how long the timer actually is but I think it is somewhere between 1 and 2 minutes. We told them that if they are not where they are supposed to be and ready to learn by the time the timer goes off they get a color change on our behavior chart. It has worked really well! This whole week we only had to change three students’ colors because they were not sitting down yet. Now they are always asking to be timed when we are doing anything.

I have noticed the students stopping what they are doing a little quicker. Before I would have to ask them multiple times to put their crayons or pencil away or put their paper away. I still do have to remind them to move quickly because the timer is on. I remind them only for those few students that are moving at their own pace. Now that I have a cord to hook the iPad to the projector I might use a visual and audio timer. This might help my slower students who need that extra push.

We also started using lamps during read to self time. Tammy got the idea from the Café book and it took us a while to get enough lamps to do it. We have two floor lamps in the front of the room and three table lamps in the back of the room on our counter. This is one of our floor lamps.

We want more but we are just taking what we can get. We turn off the lights so the room is a little more calm during that time. The first day we tried it with the lights off and the lamps on, the students were like new kids. I had never seen them working so hard and so quietly. They all said how much they loved the lamps. I am just not 100 percent sure how much it affected the students after the first day because later in the week we had one of the loudest read to self times this year. I am not sure if the newness of the lamps was their reasoning for being so great. Another reason could be because two of the students that talk the most and sometimes make choices not to do their work were not there on the first day with the lamps. I am hoping we can continue to have some great read to self time in the future. We might have to do a little more experimenting with it though.

I really enjoyed trying new things this week. I am excited to see if a visual and audio timer will help my students at all. I want to continue to look at the read to self routine and see if there is anything that can make it better. I realized how easy it is to get into a routine and not try new things. Even if the routine is working it is still important to reflect on how things are going and see if there is anything that can make it better.


One Response to “Something Borrowed, Something New”

  1. mmelayman November 5, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    Does your iPad have iOS 6 on it? If not, you should be able to update. If it does, there should be a native app (comes on the iPad) that is called Clock…you have the option to make it an alarm, timer & stopwatch 🙂

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