Sunday, October 6, 2013

Time Timers

This school year, I've been trying to manage my instructional time efficiently and effectively.  I think I've always been decent at staying on task/on track with my instruction, but I became aware of needing to be better at staying on time throughout a lesson in order to maximize the effectiveness of my instruction.

Can you tell I just finished working on my K-12 Reading endorsement to add to my teaching certificate/license?  In guided reading lessons, we were required to break our instruction into small, timed parts such as work work for 5 minutes, introduction to the reading selection for 1-2 minutes, etc.   I tend to get deeply involved in my teaching and don't always keep track of time, so having to time everything was a big change for me.

I learned to use a timing app on my iPad called Alarmed.  It was helpful because I could preset some alarms to sound at 1, 2, 5, 10, etc. minutes.  It worked for what I needed for my two sessions of summer reading tutoring at the university.

I still use it for myself, but I found I really LOVED the Time Timer for my students.  I bought a small Time Timer and I set it for class ending time as soon as I start a lesson.  My English Language Learners are so excited about the Time Timer.  They love being able to "see" how much time is left for a project or for the class.  If I forget to set the timer, one of the students will ALWAYS remind me to do so.

"Hey, Mrs. Gumby!  You forgot the timer!"

"Mrs. Gumby, we NEED the timer!"

"I love the timer.  Watch the red get smaller!"

I know that the Time Timer company offers an app now for iPads, iPhones and Android phones. But...sometimes the original physical product is the best, in my opinion.  My little three inch tall Time Timer takes up a very small space on my table, but it works SO WELL!  I don't have to worry about forgetting my iPad.  I just reach over, set the time I need and away we go!  I love the gentle "beep" at the end of the elapsed time.  My students love watching the red area "go away" or get smaller.  ( I was afraid some of them might be distracted by watching the red disappear, but surprisingly, I haven't had a single student show any distracted behaviors.  In fact, it seems to motivate them to do their best work and stay on task.)

Yay, Time Timer!!  You make a great product!!


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