How to you start/structure class?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by chemistrynerd, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. chemistrynerd

    chemistrynerd Rookie

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    Jul 14, 2014

    One thing I am doing this summer is planning out how to start & structure my class this year. Some days are easy (like with longgg labs because they take the entire block) but some other days are harder when we aren't doing a long lab. How do you start your class? Bellringers? How do you structure your class (we teach 90 min blocks)?
     
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  3. nyteacher29

    nyteacher29 Comrade

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    Jul 14, 2014

    I follow the workshop model. I always start a lesson with a do now...either a review question or a question for students to think about or even a true or false. The questions usually ask students to talk in their groups and are often open ended questions. I end with self reflections, students respond to either 1. Today I learned.... 2. I wonder.... 3. I am still confused about
     
  4. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Jul 14, 2014

    Bell ringers-journals, grammar questions, review time, independent reading, etc... They are great!
     
  5. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Jul 14, 2014

    I do not understand how any secondary class starts without an immediate task no matter what you call it.

    For my kids they copy the daily agenda, set up their paper for the day and complete some kind of task (often adding interactions to their previous notes) that sets them up for the period.
     
  6. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jul 14, 2014

    Bellwork ...
    We are 1:1. Not all of my students had their laptops on before they show up in my class. It takes 10 minutes for everyone to get laptops up and running. So, my bellwork is in interactive notebooks. We do vocab, writing, grammar, etc.
     
  7. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Jul 14, 2014

    5 min to get prepped, turn in homework and review notes. Then, straight into a quiz, followed by a warm up question.
     
  8. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jul 14, 2014

    Always start with a bellringer / warm up, whatever you call it.
    The rest will depend on the subject, school, age group, etc.
    I was trying to get a closure included, but never really got to it, but I wasn't too obsessed by it. I got to teach everything I planned within the class period, it lead up to to almost the last minutes (bell to bell instruction) with enough time and remembering to have students turn in their folder and clean up for the next class.
     
  9. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jul 14, 2014

    We have 50 minute classes so it might be different, but my day's structures are always the same.

    1. Kick-off (they do this immediately, and silently and while they do, I take roll and check off homework)
    2. Teacher led instruction (this is something that I do; like notes, explaining how to do the lab; describing what they're going to do in detail, etc.)
    3. Student-led investigation (they explore something in groups, partners, or individually)
    4. Individual practice (I like to end my days on a quieter note, so they finish off the period by working on their assignments, which if it's a lab, finishing the lab analysis, if we learned a math skill, practicing it, if we did notes, completing a summary or a reading guide)
    5. Clean-up (which they have to do before they leave)

    These are very broad categories of activities and they match pretty much anything. While the structure doesn't seem obvious to the students, they feel it there.
     
  10. abat_jour

    abat_jour Companion

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    Jul 16, 2014

    I followed that generally for my 46 min student teaching but now on 90 min block....unsure how to proceed.
     
  11. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Jul 16, 2014

    I guess I'm the only one who doesn't do the bellringer.

    My kids come in, socialize until the bell rings, and then I say something like, "All right, let's get started." I like to start off with a question. "What do you know about Russia?" for example. Hands go up, responses lead to other questions, and then we get into an in-class reading or an activity.

    edit: I should have said I teach English.
     
  12. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jul 16, 2014

    Whatever structure you choose, the best thing is to have activities change frequently, every 10 minutes or less if possible. (not always possible, I know). Also the younger they are the more frequent the change should be.
    This helps them retain more information, as we tend to remember what we heard first and last, and the middle kinda gets forgotten. This way if the reading / explanation, etc only takes a short time, everything should be retained.
    It also helps with attention span.

    Now obviously sometimes it's not possible, for example when we're reading a novel, I like to chunk it, and read a part, then ask clarifying questions, ask them them retell what happened, etc (this way: read - answer questions, already 2 different activities), but when the novel was lower level and they were really into it, it felt like it would break the momentum, so we'd read a short chapter (20 minutes or so) and then do questions.

    I always start with vocabulary work, and I think I will finish with that as well, or a summary of the lesson, questions they have, etc.
    We have 48 minutes / class, so it goes by really fast.
     
  13. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jul 17, 2014

    I would highly recommend a bellringer even for high school. The benefits are great.

    The kids immediately come into your class starting their work, so they feel more productive and there is a sense that their duty to learn starts as soon as they enter the door.

    Also while they're working, it gives you time to do some last minute set-up or take roll, etc.

    If a principal comes in immediately after the bell rings, it just looks good.

    Also you can use them as a form of formative assessment. You don't even have to really grade them. Just walk around and check out their answers quickly, and maybe give them a score for completion or participation at the end of the week. (I never hand mine back)
     
  14. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jul 17, 2014

    All of these are great reasons for bell work.

    I'd add that students never have to ask, "what are we doing today?" (which is something I would tire of answering).

    It establishes a predictable environment which is part of a safe and comfortable environment for students. I need students to feel safe in my classroom (for all of the obvious reasons but also) because I ask them to do things that can make them feel vulnerable (e.g. share their writing whole class, present in front of the class).

    I teach 4 different courses over 7 periods. So, my bell work is displayed as a PowerPoint slide. I can switch easily between the 4 slides at the bell.
     
  15. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Jul 17, 2014

    I've done them before in the past, but I didn't like the mood they created in my class. I like the flow a lot better without them.
     
  16. vivalavida

    vivalavida Companion

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    Jul 18, 2014

    Do you collect and grade yours weekly?
     
  17. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Jul 19, 2014

    I have the bellwork assignment on the center board every day. It always starts with - 1. Copy HW. The homework is always in the same place on a side board along with the objectives and agenda for the class. My bellwork varies from day to day and can be as simple as take out your HW, update the TOC in your interactive note book as follows . . . The last item is always READ SILENTLY. They rarely get that far because they have a set number of minutes (3 or so) to finish before I begin the class

    This year I'm going to try out more scheduled BW such as freewriting on M, W, Th. Tues will be vocabulary related since I always do vocab work on Tuesday. Fridays I'd like to dedicate to a logic puzzle or question. We'll see how it goes.
     
  18. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jul 20, 2014

    I collect and file them in the circular filing cabinet (the trash can). I don't need more paperwork to grade. I tried grading them in the past, waste of time. Instead when we review the answers I award participation points for the group of the student I randomly call on. If a person in the group didn't have an answer ready, the group loses a chance at participation punts and the student actually loses participation points. This gets the group to motivate everyone in their group to have an answer written down.

    If it looks like no one is doing them, I will start grading a few, but students think I check them off every week.
     

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