As I told another teacher this week, just because something has "always been" does not mean that it continues to work or be beneficial. I know my entry routine has room for improvement, mostly because I struggle to get most of the students to actually look at it when they come in the classroom. My intention is that they come into the classroom, put their belongings down, read the instructions, and get to it. But that has not necessarily been made clear as a structured piece of class, rather than a free-floating, unattached bubble of information.
I do not want to take away their opportunity to socialize within those first few minutes. I read a study somewhere at some point in time that discussed a natural need to people to talk to one another personally when entering a new environment. If you are like my colleagues and me, you know full well that you want to talk to your buddies before (and during) every meeting, professional development session, and break that you get. I know other teachers who have entry routines that are exactly the opposite, but this is one I am not willing to bend on.
So how do I improve this to benefit not only the students but myself? One step, based on my reading of TLAC and evaluating my needs, is to change my Instruction bullets to numbers. I find myself repeating, quite often, that the steps are meant to be followed in order. I have the order based on how I want them to move around the classroom as they enter, ending with them in their seats. I am going to try numbering instead to see if that makes a difference in how they perceive the importance or the order.
Another suggested guideline in the book is to model and describe. Holy moly. I hate to admit this, but in all the years of having an entry routine, and in all my years of explicitly modeling lessons, I am not sure that I have ever explicitly taught my entry routine. Since I am also changing my seating arrangement Monday, I am going to have the students move to their new seats, then model my expectations for the entry routine. I will then have them leave the classroom, entering again, following the entry routine.
With SLANT and Format Matters, I have been able to refer to classroom posters or use the terms within the lesson. This is a bit different. I am going to change my daily displays to say "Entry Routine for (date)" rather than only displaying the date.
I am also going to create a sign that says ENTRY ROUTINE (short, sweet, and to the point) to hold in my hands as I greet my students at the door. Maybe a few days of this will enforce the expectation. Once they have the routine down on a consistent basis, I can pull out the sign as needed or hang it by the door.
Another possibility, and one I have used in the past, is to record my voice saying something like, "Please remember to follow the entry routine immediately upon entering the classroom." I have learned that playing this on a loop becomes annoying quickly (even to me). The kids are usually begging me to turn it off after a couple of minutes. I think I will start this Tuesday and use it for a few days. As with the sign, I can always go back to it as needed.
What is your entry routine for class? Have you found a magic routine that works incredibly well? I am always looking for ideas to steal.
|Total sidebar: |
In looking up images of "steal,"
they were all of men. Hmm...