Several items in yesterday’s ASCD SmartBrief (June 4, 2013) caught my eye. But the one that captured both my mind and my heart was the pdf available titled “Multiply Your Minutes” in a preview from Great Habits, Great Readers: A Practical Guide for K-4 Reading in the Light of Common Core by Paul Bambrick. My first read was while waiting for an appointment to meet with a curriculum coordinator. (With my iPad in hand, I even shared some sections immediately.) My second read was to consider which co-workers would get an email link. My third read was after a co-worker commented on “I like the part about. . .”; I had to reread to find that “evidence.” I wanted to make sure that we both had a common understanding and that my enthusiasm had not been misplaced. Then I sent the link to another circle of co-workers. My morning drive to work was spent rehearsing a title for this blog entry that I just had to write. And then before I began writing, gasp! I read the pdf AGAIN!
Time is one of our most precious commodities in school. As a teacher and administrator, I was often cavalier when I would use the excuse, “I just don’t have time,” so I did not have to change what I was doing. It was a well-worn excuse! But in my role as a literacy specialist, I see time as a critical factor that with “better management” has the potential to lead to increased student learning. I find it incredibly hard to listen to conversations about how longer school days will improve learning when the day that we have just does not seem to always be used wisely. Is this important? Doug Fisher spends time on “Routines for the First 20 Days” and Daily 5 is all about the “routines” that need to be taught in order to allow students to become both independent and productive.
So what was so illuminating? The 3 pdf sections available for preview are perfect for end of year reflections as well as August resolutions to “Maximize Time!” and increase student learning! (and to “tide you over” until your book arrives!) Check out these three GEMS!
1. “Core Idea: You can’t add more hours to the week, but you can add more hours of instruction; just build tighter routines.”
2. “Core Idea: Time lost to systems is time lost for learning.”
3. And the amount of instructional time gained if transition time was reduced from 4.5 minutes to just 30 seconds because of explicit instruction and practice.
Ten school days! Wow! Have you timed your transitions lately? Maybe you are at 2.5 minutes. You could still gain five days in a year!
What routines do you teach your students in order to maximize your time? What routines SHOULD you teach?
What are you thinking of changing for next year?
Please add your ideas below!