Recently ASCD released several short books that are aimed at packing a big punch in a small package. Each are less that 100 pages but have loads of quality information. Over the next few posts we will look at each one to see what they are all about. Then we will give away 1 copy of each. Sound like fun? In the first post we took a look at Fostering Grit. Then we examined Teaching With Tablets and Grading and Group Work. This time we look at The 5-Minute Teacher.
In my first few years of teaching I always felt stress on Sundays. That was the day I sat down with all my textbooks and plan books and decided on what I would teach for the week. My classes were divided into 60 min chunks. My stress came from trying to figure out how I would fill each one of those minutes. I had units and lessons I would plan I knew would take days but I didn't have days. On the flip side I had lessons I knew would take only minutes, then what would I do with the rest of the time?
Later on I learned different methods and strategies along the way that would help alleviate some of the stress of planning (like my adoption of formative assessments among other things.) But it took me several years and trial and error to feel comfortable.
Enter Mark Barnes and the ASCD Arias Book The 5-Minute Teacher.
We have just a precious few moments to engage our students in learning. Mark argues that 5 minutes can make all the difference.
Mark says it best:
"I've learned that the hard way. It's the structure of the student-centered classroom that creates a powerful, exciting learning environment that students actually enjoy. The so called five-minute teacher-who should be nearly invisible-is part of the fun...Five minutes can be the most important part of the students' day. When students are poised to learn something new, five-minutes can prepare them for experiences that open doors and open minds. The trick is making those five minutes count."
Mark goes on to offer suggestions on making those five minutes count. Like the use of video to serve as a springboard to conversation or opening class with guiding questions that get kids thinking. He also explains the concept of being a guide on the side, being a coach rather than a teacher. As Mark points out (and I agree) when you move from teacher to coach you allow for more student direction in learning.
There is also a great section on helping teachers develop their own Toolkit of Student Driven activities. Mark offers several suggestions for technologies and platforms that can help promote student-centered learning and engage students during and after the five minutes.
Like the other ASCD Arias books, this was a quick and easy read, full of great ideas and suggestions to turn it up a notch in the classroom. For $6.99 for the digital edition this is a great edition to any professional library.
cross posted at blog.web20classroom.org
Steven W. Anderson is the Director of Instructional Technology for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in Winston-Salem, NC. He also regularly travels the country talking to schools and districts about the use of Social Media in the classroom. Steven has been recognized with the NOW Award and the 2009 and 2011 Edublogs, Twitterer of The Year Award. In 2012 he was named an ASCD Emerging Leader. Read more at blog.web20classroom.org.