Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Not all class time is created equal...

Imagine this scenario: You teach at least 5 classes or 5 hours a day (this accounts for both elementary and secondary teachers). Each 1 hour block takes about 5 minutes to get started and ends about 5 minutes early. 

This means that roughly 10 minutes out of every 60 minutes are underutilized. Over the course of the day, this means that roughly 50 minutes out of every 300 minutes are not spent learning.
Over the course of a typical 5 day week there will be 250 minutes not spent learning out of a total 1,500 potential learning minutes.

Over the course of a typical school year of 174 school days there will be 8,700 minutes not utilized for learning. Let's be realistic and cut that number in half because we all know there are assemblies and other events that cut into learning time throughout the school year. That leaves us with 4,350 minutes of time not spent learning.

4,350 total underutilized minutes divided by a typical 300 minute school day = 14.5 days (or almost 3 weeks) per school year we are letting slip through our fingers. 

Instructional time is precious... how are you using it?

Starting class on time and limiting transition time sets the tone for the entire learning period. When lessons are well-planned & designed around efficiency & a steady pace, kids are better able to remain focused & on task.

Too fast and you lose your class... too slow and you miss the show! A steady pace in class will benefit both you AND your students.

There is a misconception around what the teacher is doing to be considered appropriate usage of time. Utilizing instructional time more efficiently and effectively does NOT mean that teachers need to increase their workload in the classroom. Increasing the amount of group collaboration and student led projects/presentations/activities will have increased levels of rigor and DOK while also limiting any added workload to the teacher. We all need to do a better job of planning and designing our lessons so that the instructional time is used to its fullest potential.


Greet kids at the door with a smile and a friendly "hello"
Activities and/or learning objectives visible for students so they know what to expect
Keep kids engaged by having "important" work available for them
Don't be afraid to let go; trust your students to do what's right
Always plan for more than you think you have time for
"Busy" work should NEVER be used to fill time!
Encourage exploration, discovery and inquiry in your classroom
Design "spaces" in your classroom for both group and independent work
Emphasize the importance of your class time to your students 

If your class time is not important and precious to you, then it will never be important and precious to your students...