In our previous “Real World Examples” post, we focused on Behavior Management. Keeping with the Classroom Organization domain, Productivity is our next dimension of exploration. Looking through the CLASS lens, teachers who are high in productivity have a classroom that work like a well-oiled machine. Everyone is aware of the expectations and how things work in each part of the day. There is little instructional time lost during the day. In real life, we often do not stop to think about what makes a day more or less productive. By being intentional in how we structure our time, we can better understand the benefits of productivity in the classroom.
The Example: Studying for Finals
Many of us can relate to being an adult learner. And adult learning sometimes means exams, as in the end of semester finals. There may be multiple subjects to study and various ways to do so. After you finish preparing for one subject, there are still others to choose from (Choice when finished). Minimizing distractions allows optimal learning to take place. Notifying friends and family when your study hours are and turning off electronic distractions is a must (Few disruptions). Before beginning to study, you have organized and gathered all the supplies you need (Effective completion of managerial tasks). And finally, to reward yourself at the end for all that hard work, you plan to choose something fun to do (choice when finished).
The Example: Driving to Work
Everyone has their own morning routine, such as taking the same route to work or school every day. When a routine is in place, there is little time lost due to confusion or wandering because the route never alters. The rules and instructions have been established and practiced many times (Students know what to do, Little wandering). Every now and again a detour sign or a blocked road throws off our routines and routes. When this happens, we find ourselves wandering. We search for the next step or look for guidance to a more familiar route. Turning on our GPS tracker and following the instructions get us back on track (Clear instructions).
The Example: Airport Security
Sometimes we don’t think about how transitions happen in our adult lives, but when you stop and look, they are all around! Take airport security, for example—especially when it is running efficiently (and sometimes it does)! To get to the first security checkpoint, one must wait in a long line. During this wait, security agents begin talking to the crowd. You find out what is not allowed through the checkpoint, and how to prepare to go through the scanner (Embeds a learning opportunity within the transition). Once through the checkpoint, travelers send their luggage through a scanner. Then, you walk through the second checkpoint. This organized system, with all pieces working together, makes the transition from security to the concourse move quickly (Brief).
The Example: Party Planning
Preparing for a party can be a huge undertaking! It takes intentional planning and advanced preparation for a gathering to run smoothly. If the party has games or activities, you need to know how to play the games and all the rules ahead of time (Knows lessons). Having all of the game pieces and materials organized and at the ready means less running around after guests arrive (Materials ready and accessible). When materials are set up and ready to go for each activity, guests can move through the event seamlessly and with little stress and wait time!
What are some of your favorite real-world examples of Productivity? What adult experiences reflect Productivity (in all ranges) each day?
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When I was a teacher, I can remember taking care to intentionally plan differentiated, or individualized, instruction. And, when I was teaching pre-K I added the same level of intentionality to which materials were available in interest areas, and how I approached transitions throughout the day.
While any level of intentionally, specifically in relation to planning, is important -- I missed a critical opportunity in being more intentional in my interactions with the children in my class.
There is always an opportunity for interaction. Some opportunities are easily recognizable: times of play, free choice, centers, small group. We often see teachers engaged in activities alongside children during these times or hear questions being asked. Other opportunities might be a little less obvious. These are the times of your day that you might see as mundane moments that merely require your supervision or monitoring. The times where you’re going through the motions. “I’m doing this thing so I can move on to the next thing.”
In a previous blog, colleague and early childhood environment extraordinaire, Heather Sason, discussed how your classroom environment can help promote effective teacher-child interactions. In this blog, I propose we explore some of the often overlooked times in your day that are ripe for interactions with children and that do promote exploration, learning, and development!
It's not uncommon for teachers in early education to need to strike a balance between following children's leads and sticking to the classroom schedule. We know that intentional teachers are aware of their responsibility to assess student progress, understand skill mastery, and plan accordingly to provide opportunities for children to grow. However, many times, as teachers begin a specific teacher-directed activity, it is unsettling when students begin to veer from the step-by-step plans the teacher has worked hard to implement.
Teacher and coach, Colleen Schmit, will share how teachers can strike the balance between following the lesson plans and giving children freedom of choice and flexibility in the classroom.
As an educator, you’re busy. Your time is being split by competing priorities, from managing students’ needs, meeting your program’s goals, and communicating with parents. While you’re juggling your work, it can be difficult to keep learning about important ways to improve your daily teaching practice. Teachstone is here to help!