Maximizing Your Time in an ELA Classroom

Maximizing Your Time: Fitting Everything into a Class Period

Do you ever feel like you are in a race against time in your classroom, trying to fit everything in before the bell rings? As a teacher, you have a limited amount of time to cover all of the necessary standards and lessons, and it can be challenging to accomplish everything in the allotted class period. However, with a few actionable tips and intentional strategies, you can confidently teach everything you need to in less time without sacrificing your sanity.

Strategy #1: Be intentional With Bell Work

The first few minutes of your class period are crucial for setting the tone and expectations for your students. Rather than allowing your students to wander around and chat with their friends, consider introducing a bell work routine. Bell work can be a great opportunity for your students to review the standards, but it’s essential to be intentional with the assignments you give them.

Avoid giving your students busy work or themed bell-ringer days that are not aligned with the standards. Instead, choose bell work that is tailored to meet all of the standards your students need to cover throughout the year. Make sure the assignments are spiraling previously taught skills so that students consistently review concepts at the start of each class. By doing this, bell work can become an integral part of your routine, and your students will benefit from the repetition and consistency.

ELA Bell Ringers

Strategy #2: Streamline Your Lessons

One of the most significant challenges in teaching is trying to fit all of the necessary lessons into a limited amount of time. To streamline your lessons, focus on the most essential standards and concepts, and eliminate anything that is not critical. Additionally, consider using technology and multimedia resources to make your lessons more engaging and interactive.

Strategy #3: Maximize Instructional Time

Your class periods may be shorter than you would like due to various interruptions, such as assemblies or field trips. To maximize your instructional time, consider setting expectations for your students and using transitions effectively. For example, instead of spending several minutes taking attendance and collecting homework, consider having your students complete these tasks while you are giving instructions. By doing this, you can gain back valuable instructional time and ensure that your students are on task and engaged throughout the class period.

Strategy #4: Utilize Small-Group Instruction

Have you ever considered using small-group instruction to meet the needs of your students who are at different levels? By dividing your class into smaller groups, you can tailor your instruction to meet the needs of each group, whether they are struggling or ready for higher-level assignments. This strategy can be particularly useful for ELA teachers who have students at different reading levels.

As a teacher, you have a lot of demands on your time, and it can be challenging to fit everything into a single class period. However, by being intentional with your strategies, streamlining your lessons, maximizing your instructional time, and utilizing small-group instruction, you can confidently teach everything you need to in less time without sacrificing your sanity. Go ahead and pick one strategy to begin with and really master it! You will not regret it!

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Then, pick the date you’re going to teach it in your classroom, and sit back while you watch as your students show up to your classroom pumped about what the day holds…and gush about your class to their parents on the car ride home!

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