Classroom management can be a struggle, especially if you have a talkative or energetic class. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got from a teaching mentor was to teach bell to bell. If I want a well-managed class of active learners, I need to grab my students’ attention at the beginning of class, and hold it until the very end, so they can get into a habit of learning when they are in my classroom.
If we’re slow to start, or there’s a bunch of time at the end of class, that free time is open for all kinds of distracted behaviour. And it can be hard to reign students back in once that happens.
We all know that the first few minutes of your lesson are very important. You need to grab the students’ attention right away so they are right there with you, ready to learn. But those last minutes are equally significant for student learning and engagement.
If a class activity just fades off with no closure, a number of problems can occur. First of all, a block of empty time at the end of class is an invitation for distraction and misbehavior.
You want to end with their attention on the learning, so plan activities that remind them of the purpose of your lesson: what is it that they need to remember? What skill do they need to master? How will they use it in the short and long term? What are their next steps?
I’ve got a page of strategies for you to download, including the exit ticket pictured above. Click here, and they will be delivered to your mailbox right away. And, if you’d like to take some really useful PD, I have an online course designed to help teachers manage and engage their classes. You can find out more here.