In education there are good years, and there are less good years. For me, this is a year that has been moving in a positive direction, but still wouldn’t be listed as a “good year.” And that’s ok. I’m not complaining about it, I’m dealing with it and focusing on the positives I see daily.

One of the struggles that has been ongoing has been volume and staying on task. I feel like I give instructions, and then I give them again, and then I spend the next eight minutes shushing and redirecting. It’s annoying because by 7th grade, I feel like they should know better…

But do they?

Do they actually know exactly what I mean when I say, “you have nine minutes to read this article and be ready to discuss this article.” I’ve made the task clear, but the behavior? Not so much.

So today I tried something new. And it worked. I don’t know if it will work tomorrow, but today it worked great and I need to share it.

The following slides are at the end of my slidedeck now.

It’s the first three words that made the difference.

My expectation is…

I have assumed that my students knew to be quiet when they read, but did they?

I assumed that they knew that discussion and engagement was required, but did they?

Every time we switched activities, the slide switched as well. The 30 seconds of explaining exactly what my expectation is made the next few minutes of that task more effective. The room was silent when they read. Everyone, yes, everyone, was involved in the partner discussions about the text after they read.

I’m now trying to figure out what other slides I need to make during independent and group work for tomorrow.

What tricks do you have to make class management a tad bit easier? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter – @cheffernan75

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