Some teachers have a bit of trouble actually getting through an entire lesson within a certain time limit. This is ok, who hasn't either gotten excited about a lesson and kept going and going? Or who was unfortunately not able to actually finish a lesson due to disruptive behavior? We have all been there! Now if this is happening in your classroom every day, then it may be time to try some new strategies out. A lesson should not last 2 hours and the students should not be subjected to a lesson that long! When attention spans run out, so does your classroom management and your time! Therefore, ending in a lesson that was probably not well received, no matter how engaging it was.
One thing to remember is that in order to maximize your instructional time, the number one thing you need is good classroom management. Students should understand how the classroom environment flows from arrival to dismissal. If you understand that, then you should have instructional time that flows like a steady stream! (That was supposed to be clever)
Maximizing your instructional time depends on good classroom management processes and highly interactive teaching styles.
Some significant classroom management processes promote the maximization of instructional time:
• Room arrangement – Well-organized room arrangements provide easy student movement and good teacher-
student eye contact. Trouble-free traffic patterns reduce distractions and disruptions. In addition, educators
whose rooms are arranged so they have a clear view of all their students can easily monitor student engagement
and attend to student activities.
• Rules and procedures – Effective rules and procedures reduce the time spent on disruptions and disciplinary
• Transitions – Efficient practiced transitions help students move in and out of the room smoothly and get to work
quickly at the beginning of class or on the next learning activity.
• Preparation and pacing – Doing the hard work of pre-planning and preparing ample activities and materials allows
educators to focus on the lesson momentum. Good pacing reduces dead time and keeps students involved and
• Unplanned Interruptions -
1. Teach students a procedure for handling interruptions (e.g., you are suddenly called down to the office and an
aide will be covering your classroom), such as teaching students to work on a particular independent reading
assignment whenever the activity at hand is interrupted.
2. Practice how students will react to a PA announcement or a visitor at your door who needs to speak to you for 20
• Student Needs (Bathroom, Water, Tissue, etc.)-
1. You may have decided that you won’t allow students to leave your class to go to the bathroom except in an extreme emergency (this is particularly reasonable at the secondary level, where students can use the time between classes to go to the bathroom or get a drink). But, to save the ensuing distraction and time it takes to ascertain whether that one-foot hop really constitutes an emergency, several corps members report success with giving each student one emergency bathroom pass for each semester. Students are responsible for keeping the pass. In the case of an emergency, students raise their hand with the pass in hand, the teacher nods, signs it while continuing to teach, and the student leaves the room. When the student returns to class she gives the pass to the teacher.
2. Design a signal for students to give you when they need to get up and get a tissue. (It’s often helpful to have tissues in a set place in the classroom; consider asking parents to donate one box at the beginning of the year). If a student raises her hand and taps the end of her nose, you can nod your permission without stopping what you’re saying to the rest of the class.
Sometimes teachers just lose track of time or a new transition sneaks up on them. One way that you could control the lesson lengths in order to maximize our instructional time is to use a timer, stop watch, or any other time telling device. There is a timer on your smart board if you are doing a smart board activity. (FYI)