How to Get your Students Working Bell-to-Bell
So how do you get students to enter the classroom and immediately begin to work? How do you get students working bell-to-bell without loss of instructional time at the beginning and end of class?
Have you tried marching the entire class out the door and threatening to repeat the process until they are quiet? I tried that with little success.
I’ve found enticing students with rewards is far more effective. Students will work for what they want.
My teacher’s assistant begins handing out raffle tickets the minute he/she enters the classroom. Only students who are quiet AND writing the answers to the bell work receive a ticket. Students put their tickets into a jar before or after class, or on Friday right before the raffle.
On Fridays, I put my box of goodies on a desk at the front of the room. Then the four students whose names I pull out of the jar come and choose their prize. The first student always grabs the coveted homework coupon (only one per class) .
What else do I put in the box?
White board markers for which they normally must pay fifty cents and without which they cannot participate in the activities and competitions.
Next? chocolate bars, goodies from Teacher’s Discovery: painted pens with sombreros, Mexican bracelettes, taco erasers, ice cream gift cards. It works like a charm! If you were to walk into my classroom BEFORE the bell rang, you would see students writing away and ready to learn.
What about the fast finishers?
I write a question on the board for “Minimaratón”. If they answer the question correctly they get a prize. Answering usually requires looking up words in the dictionary or wordreference.com. I also project the homework on the screen so they can begin working on it.
Don’t lose instructional time. Get your students working bell-to-bell too!
For more ideas on how to engage students, check out his blog on Seven Activities that Guarantee 100% Student Engagement.
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