Starting the School Year Right
Automating Classroom D
Procedures to Save Time
How can I play a role in saving
instructional time in class?
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)
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
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
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
• 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.
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
• 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
www.polleverywhere.com 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
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
Event 2 Time
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
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 www.polleverywhere.com. 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):
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