When I was a new teacher, I remember being so very grateful for every assembly, school meeting, presentation and other “interruptions” that were added to our schedule. Filling up every day for students was daunting, and I was glad for the help.
Fast forward a few years… With some experience, I got better at putting together plans for each day, and I saw how little time I really had with my students. Those interruptions I had welcomed before where now a huge inconvenience.
I noticed, though, that there were often little blocks of time – just a few minutes here and there – that I wasn’t always using to the best advantage. Students in line waiting for the dismissal bell to ring? Lesson go a bit faster than I anticipated?
I started keeping a list of ways I could use those few minutes, turning what could easily become chaos as students filled the time entertaining themselves into valuable time to review vocabulary or content or to reflect on recent learning.