“Finish Strong” Tip #1: Teach from Bell to Bell
Since I was a kid, I always loved the quizzes you could find in most popular magazines. Even now, one of my guilty pleasures is taking those silly online questionnaires. In thinking about finishing strong, I thought what if the first tip was more like a self-reflection quiz instead of a traditional post. So here goes my first attempt.
Are you an EDU Rockstar or Not?
Do you make the most of every possible minute of instruction to move the learning needle in your classroom like a ROCKSTAR or do you hit and miss like a ONE-HIT-WONDER?
Question #1: After the bell rings, how many minutes does it take for all students to be actively working on their first task (reading, journaling, activity, or bell ringer)?
5-10 minutes – Your score is a 10.
11-15 minutes – Your score is a 5.
16 minutes or more – Your score is 0.
Question #2: When students finish an activity/task, how often do you have transition activities already planned? (Ex. After students finish the handout, they know to put it in the bin, and grab the next assignment from the table.)
Always – Your score is 10.
Sometimes – Your score is 5.
Never – Your score is 0.
Question #3: Who dismisses your class? You or the bell?
You notice the bell will be ringing shortly, so you facilitate a closing activity that engages students right up to the moment the bell rings.
Your score is a 10.
If students are working independently or in small groups and are caught off guard by the abrupt ringing of the bell.
Your score is a 5.
If students are lined up at the door or packed up waiting for the bell.
Your score is a 0.
What do your scores reveal? EDU “RockStar” or “One-Hit-Wonder”?
“You’ve Got the Moves Like Jagger”
Score: 30 – 25
You are a true “RockStar!” When you step into the classroom, you should enter to a soundtrack of your greatest hits. You make it a point to get the most from kids daily by creating instructional procedures and lessons that maximize learning time. Your practice creates music in the classroom that ensures that kids know teaching is your “jam.” Keep rocking every minute – everyday, Rockstar!
We Could “Blame it On the Rain” But Let’s Just Blame It on Inconsistency
Score: 20 – 15
Some days you feel like a rockstar but others leave you wondering if that’s the real you. Consistency is the key. You can easily achieve rockstar status by tweaking your lesson plans and making sure you have planned and over planned for each day. Consistency in classroom procedures that aid transitions will also help you climb the charts of “Bell to Bell” instruction. Remember there is no lip syncing your way to success here. You have to put in the time and effort to ensure that every minute of class is beneficial for students.
Don’t get “Hung” Out to Dry!
Score: 15 – 0
William Hung gave a notoriously bad rendition of “She Bangs” on the hit show American Idol. Far from a rockstar, his performed showcased his room for growth. If you scored in this range, it may be time to review your plans and determine if you have aligned the right teacher directed instruction paired with opportunities for modeling, small group instruction and independent practice. Don’t get “hung” out to dry by not reflecting on how to reach rockstar status. Start getting in tune by seeking out the help of a rockstar near you. Get feedback even if it is hard to hear and last but not least put the feedback to work in your classroom. Rockstar status can be yours, but it takes revising and/or moving away from ineffective practices and adopting new ones that help you maximize every minute of learning with your students.