How to Start a Class off Right

Prime time in school is the first few moments in class.

Prime time is a phrase used by the television broadcasting industry to refer to the peak time that the block of programming should be taking place. That is, when the greatest number of people watching, the audience and time is prime time. It is considered the most valuable spot for advertisers and the where the most effective programming for the family is placed.

Have you considered what is your prime time in your classroom is?

From my experiences in a school classroom, primetime is the first few moments at the start of a class. It sets the tone for the day and will determine the level of engagement in your class and how much work can be accomplished. If you waste these minutes, you may upset the success of your class for that day and lose the engagement of the students.

To be an effective teacher, our first priority is not to take the roll when class starts; rather, it is to get the students to engage their work. Then, as they begin their work and we answer any questions, then we can take the roll. 

This is also true for the first day of school and your first week. How you start the class is the most important time and day of the school year. It is like first impressions on meeting someone or tasting a new food. So, if we start the class off on a bad note or are inefficient, or not engaging the students, then, the rest of the time will be catch up. The same with the first day of school. We need to have a mindset to start right, or we may never get back the way we should for the whole year. The best teachers from my observations and research know how to begin, they jump in with a great attitude and planning from start to finish. They rehearse procedures and are well organized. They do this on the first day of school, at the beginning of each day, and the beginning of each class so the work and engagement can commence.

How to start the day

So simple and effective, have a Morning Routine. Such as, quietly walk into the classroom. Remove your coat or jacket and hang it up. Check your inbox. Retrieve needed items from your backpack. Have two sharpened pencils, books, and materials ready. This is essential for yonder grades as well as my current High School Juniors. At the same time or before class, have assignments posted at the same location and be available, so the students will know the procedure for work and not to waste time, essential for older grades.

Bell Work is awesome!

For older students, third grade and up, try it with second graders, have “Bell Work.” This is the coursework that students are to be doing when the bell rings, so no class time is wasted. Have problems or assignments, reading posted on the board for them to do to get going. Then, as the teacher takes the roll, students begin their work for the day on their own. For this to work, the assignment must be ready and available, and the students must know the procedure. Practice this, so they get it. Also, no need to be making announcements, have a parent led newsletter. Do not be collecting papers or homework, have an inbox for each student or a web portal. Also, keep the answering of questions very brief, know what you need to say and how to say it. Taking the a few minutes on the first day of class to practice routines will save you countless hours of wasted time.

The priority is when class begins, it is not to just about the roll or colleting work; it is enabling students to work effectively. So, each student can and will enter the classroom and begin with a morning routine.

Dr. Richard Krejcir is an Author, Researcher, seasoned Special Education teacher and the Director of a nonprofit that does educational training in third-world countries. He is also a STEAM teacher and a father of a son with autism.

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