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Monday, July 18, 2016

Starting Class in the First Five Minutes

As a fifth grade teacher on a campus that is departmentalized, I see four science classes each day.  I struggled the first few years with transitioning smoothly from one class to the next.  Kids would be rushed out the door so they made it to their next class on time, papers would be left in messy piles all over the room, and lab equipment would be hastily shoved into containers for the next class.  I would quickly work to get things ready while students surrounded me with questions, requests, late work, etc.  It was enough to make me want to pull my hair out!

In my attempt to alleviate the stress of transitioning from one class to the next, I created one of my most successful classroom management techniques, simply called “The First 5 Minutes”

The most important goal I wanted to accomplish was to have the students come in to my classroom and get to work independently so that I could have 5 minutes to prepare everything they would need for that day’s activity. 
I start “The First Five Minutes” on the first day of school.  When students enter the classroom, I ask them to read the screen.  I project a list of things they need to accomplish. This list always reminds them to sharpen their pencils, use the restroom, get water, and to set themselves up for success.  I might also include directions to get their homework out, turn in their conduct card and take home folder, or copy the agenda from the board.  By the end of the first week, my students know that as soon as they walk in to my classroom they need to read the screen and get started on accomplishing the tasks I have listed.

I also explain to students that during this 5 minutes they are not to ask me questions or hand me anything.  I let them know that I need the first five minutes of class to get everything ready for them.  Once the five minutes has passed, I always turn to the class and ask them if they need to tell me anything and then we get started.

This simple technique has really helped me deal with the transition between each class and has really helped me keep my sanity during the day.  

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