Starting the School Year Right: Lesson D - Automating Classroom Procedures to Save Time

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					Starting the School Year Right

Automating Classroom                                                              D
Procedures to Save Time

How can I play a role in saving
instructional time in class?

Overview                                                             Materials

Students participate in a series of activities that will assist      •Hotel Room Key
the class into saving instructional time and minimize                 Cards (1 per student)
disruption.                                                          •Downloaded
                                                                      countdown from
Preview Students clumsily try to group themselves for a               “Minute to Win It”
game show only to find that their grouping cuts into the              Gameshow
amount of time they have for the game.                               •Projected copy of
                                                                      Desk Olympics
Activity In an Experiential Exercise, students will
participate in a game where they are challenged with
activities that will help the class reduce disruption and
save instructional time.

Processing Students will respond to the essential
question as an exit slip to class.

In the course of this lesson and participating classroom
activity, students will
• experience the difficulty in placing themselves in
groups and arranging their materials quickly.
• move quickly as they enter class to “check in” and get
to their seat.
• learn the importance of moving quickly, quietly, and
correctly into place for paired, triad, and quad
cooperative activities.

                                               Basic Training: Starting the School Year Right   1

Suggested time: 10 minutes

1. Start Timer and Conduct attendance. Using a
   stopwatch or timer function, begin at the tardy bell.
   Call out the names of student in a methodical manner.

2. Clumsily group students into pairs.
• Tell students that they are about to play a game. It
   will be important to get into groups quickly for this
   activity. Students will need to get into groups of four,
   including their desks, and have all their belongings in
   place, and be ready.
• Ask them if they understand the directions and then
   have them try to move into groups.

3. Once students are finally in groups: Explain to the
   students that you were timing how long it took to get
   into doing an activity today from the start of class to
   when groups were ready. Show them their time. Ask
   the students:
• Why do you think it took so long to get into the
• What could we do to save time in class?

4. Explain the purpose for the rest of class. Ask the
   students to rearrange themselves to how the class
   originally looked. Project the essential question for
   the lesson and tell the students that they will play a
   game today as they learn how to help save
   instructional time with a couple of class procedures
   they will use throughout the year.

Experiential Exercise
Suggested time: 30 minutes

1. Distribute blank hotel key cards. Give each student
   a blank hotel key card. Have students use a marker to
   print their first initial and last name on the hotel key.

                                            Basic Training: Starting the School Year Right   2

2. Phase 1: Attendance Procedure
• Collect all the hotel keys from the students.
• Have the students gather their belongings and step                   Suggestion
   into the hall.
                                                                  Substitute the hotel key
• While students move into the hall, place the hotel key          cards with novelty dog-
   cards in a prominent location along with an index              tags. Have the students
   card box close by.                                             grab them and wear them
• Once in the hall, quietly tell the students that at your        around their neck during
                                                                  class. Depositing them in
   direction, they will enter the room, find their key
                                                                  a box as they leave for the
   card, drop it in the box, and then have a seat.                next day.
• Tell the students that this will be the daily attendance
   procedure. Once the tardy bell rings, any key cards
   left out will indicate who is tardy or absent.
• Ring a bell and have the students practice the

3. Phase 2: Desk Olympics
• Tell the students that they will now compete as a class
   against all your other classes in a timed activity
   similar to a gameshow.
• Explain that when in your class, they will be moving
   into groups many times during the year and that the
   groups will vary in makeup and size. To maximize
   instructional time, you have created a procedure that
   will allow students to move quickly, quietly, and
• Project Desk Olympics master and timer.                                Desk Olympics
• Tell students that their first event is side by side pairs.
   Have students get their student notebook out and find
   their buddy clock. (See Starting the Year Right:
   Lesson B for details). Have students make eye
   contact with their 5 o’clock buddy. Tell the students
   that you will now time how long it takes for the class
   to all be arranged in pairs. Tell the students the rules
   are that they must move quickly, quietly, and
   correctly. If there is any talking, you will add 5
   seconds to the class total.
• Using the timer, tell the class to begin. Start the
   music clip too. When completely settled and quiet,
   show them the time. No matter how quickly the time,
   tell them they must do much better. Allow them the
   chance to do the activity once more, but let them
   know that this one counts.
                                              Basic Training: Starting the School Year Right    3

•    Write down the final class time for the event side by
     side pairs.
                                                                      Teacher Tip
•    Have students move the desks back into their original        Procedures are only as
     place.                                                       valuable as they are
•    Using the same procedure, conduct an event for face          routinely used. Conduct
     to face pairs, triads (remember to group students in         a Desk Olympics time
     advance of class and project), and then quads (which         each group activity you
     could be two pairs finding each other).                      do throughout the year.
•    Be sure to emphasize the importance of moving
     quickly, quietly, and correctly.
•    After the last event, ask the students how knowing
     how to move into groups will save time.

4.   Phase 3: Procedure, Procedure
•    Place the hotel key cards back out.
•    Have the students exit the room.
•    Tell the students that they will now enter the room
     and be challenged to move into groups once the tardy
     bell rings. Explain that they must “check in,” find
     their seat, and be ready. This is the last event and will
     count toward the class standings.
•    Start the timer and get the class moving from the hall
     to your room. Once the appropriate amount of time
     has elapsed, ring a tardy bell, BUT keep your timer
     moving.                                                         Going Digital
•    Project an image showing that students will work in
     side by side pairs with their 10 o’clock buddy. Get
     them to move quickly, quietly, and correctly. Add 5          Polleverywhere is a free
     seconds for any unnecessary chatter.                         web tool that allows
                                                                  teachers to create text or
Processing                                                        multiple choice
                                                                  questions and have
Suggested time: 5 – 10 Minutes                                    students use smart
                                                                  devices such as their cell
1. Have students complete a “Texit Slip” activity.                phones or computers to
   Project the essential question via                             respond. If your school and ask the students to use             does not allow students
   their cell phones to text in a response to the question.       to use cell phones while
                                                                  in session, consider
                                                                  using responder units, or
2. Debrief the essential question. Call out a few of the          good old fashioned
   texted responses as a closing. Have students move              strips of paper.
   desks back into place.

                                              Basic Training: Starting the School Year Right   4
                                         Desk Olympics

 You will be working in groups of different sizes throughout this course and must practice moving
 into groups efficiently. When your teacher says “Go!” you must move into whatever configuration
 is shown below and bring everything—backpacks, notebooks, pens, jackets—with you. You will
 be timed on how fast you get into perfect formation.

      Event 1                                                               Time
      Side-by-Side Pairs

      Event 2                                                               Time
      Face-to-Face Pairs

      Event 3                                                               Time
      Groups of Three

      Event 4                                                               Time
      Groups of Four

      Event 5                                                               Time
      Groups of Five

144   Bring Learning Alive!
                                                                             FREE WEB 2.0 TOOLS FOR TEACHERS 

                                      Poll Everywhere 
What is it? 

Poll Everywhere is a free application that allows students to respond via text message to a poll created 
by the teacher. Polls can be downloaded into a PowerPoint or shown live online. 

How do I get started? 

Go to You will need to create an account. Additional features are available 
for purchase, but all the basics are free. The website has step‐by‐step instructions with screenshots to 
walk you through setting up a poll and having students answer (it’s NOT difficult):‐it‐works.  


How can I use it with my students? 

    •   Use during TCI Preview activities to hook students in, assess their prior knowledge, and get them 
        interested in the upcoming lesson.  

    •   Sprinkle in a few polls to check for understanding during lectures or as students complete their 
        Reading Notes. Leave up an open‐ended poll during instruction to let students ask questions.  

    •   Instead of an exit slip, create a “text‐it slip” by having students answer the Essential Question at 
        the end of class. Or, at the beginning of class, use a poll as a quiz over previous material. 

    •   Encourage students to use polls as part of class presentations. 

                                                             INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY WITH THE TCI APPROACH 

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Description: Students participate in a series of activities that will assist the class into saving instructional time and minimize disruption.