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Saturday, November 16, 2019


No matter what you do, in each class you will have race horses and turtles. The race horses finish their work before you can turn around and the turtles never finish. Here are a few tips that will encourage children to organize and prioritize their time.

Planning Journals
Each student will need a spiral notebook for a planning journal. Give them 5-10 minutes each morning to draw illustrations or write plans for the day.

Morning Meeting Routine
Sing a good morning song, give students a handshake, review the class rules, fill in the calendar, etc. Following the same routine each day will prepare students to “get ready” to learn.

Morning Mantra
Use this mantra to start your day.

     Teacher: What is my job today?
     Children: Your job is to teach us and to love us.
     Teacher: What is your job today?
     Children: Our job is to learn and to love each other.

Check Mate
Before starting a lesson, post a checklist of what students will need. As you read down the list, students respond, “Check!” if they are all set.

     Pencils? – Check!
     Paper? – Check!
     Crayons? – Check!
     Eyes Watching? – Check!
     Ears Listening? – Check!
     Hands and Feet Quiet? – Check!

“To Do” Lists and Contracts
Make daily checklists to help students stay on task. Long assignments can be overwhelming, but completing one step at a time is more manageable.

Fist List
When the teacher gives directions the students put up a finger for each step they are to follow.

Give students contracts with different activities/centers/tasks listed. As they complete the tasks they can color in each section. Contracts could be done on a weekly basis or for a unit of study.

*You could also use a check off list, a tic-tac-toe frame, or a Bingo card.

Catch Up Folder
Students keep a “catch up folder” in their desk with work that needs to be completed.


Use a timer to encourage students to finish work and “beat” the timer.

Five Minute Person
Create a classroom job called “the five minute person.” When there are five minutes left on the playground, five minutes left in the lunch room, five minutes left in reading, etc. that person holds up five fingers and walks around the room saying, “Five more minutes. Five more minutes.”