Monday, May 9, 2011

Strategies for Uninterrupted Time

Being that it's the end of the year, most teachers might be trying to get their assessments finished.  If you're a first grade teacher, you probably know how annoying it is to have every child become 'needy' the instant you start working with another student.  It never fails.  All of a sudden... Johnny needs to go to the bathroom, someone called Molly a 'poop head', Bob can't find his pencil, Cindy found a staple on the floor, Matt's shoe is untied and Tommy's paper ripped...all simultaneously!! It never fails. Never.  ;)

I attended a professional development meeting not too long ago, led by my former first grade teacher...who is wonderful!! M.J. (Marijo...not to be confused with Michael Jackson. However, she's just as awesome!) is now our Literacy Coach.  She gave some great ideas on how to get uninterrupted time with your students. When she had her own classroom, she used to wear a special pair of reading glasses whenever she needed time to focus on selected students.  Marijo's class knew that they were not to interrupt her when she was wearing those glasses unless it was a true emergency. (And if you're a first grade teacher, then you know that it is necessary to give examples of what is considered to be an emergency. Finding a staple on the floor may not be one of them.) :)  You can go to the dollar store and get a funky, cheap pair of glasses.

Being that I wear glasses regularly, I needed to think of something else to use as a visual.  I have a clay flower pot sitting on my table.  It is filled with 'flower pens'.  My special education teacher and I use these pens to let the students know that we need time to focus on the person that is sitting with us.  If a child forgets, I simply hold my pen up and he usually goes back to his task until I can address him. (And by then, the problem is usually solved.)
This is not mine, but it looks just like it!

You could also wear a head band, put up a sign, turn on a lamp, put on a vest...anything that stands out!

 If you have any other ideas that you find helpful, leave them in a comment!  Have a great week!


Just4Teachers said...

What a FAB idea!!! Thank you for sharing! I am a new follower! I love your blog! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the uninterrupted time....I needed that little pick me are right, especially this time of year!!!

Beth Sullivan, Loganville, GA
First Grade Teacher

Ari said...

Love the funky glasses! I wear a lei during workshop and my kiddos know not to interrupt. My favorite is when I forget to put it on and they ask if I need my necklace lol. =) Thanks for sharing this info!

Randi said...

I love this idea and your blog! I have tried something like this before and it's amazing how they are able to really "get it" and not interrupt! Thanks for sharing.

Also, I grew up in Northeast Ohio(Ashtabula!
Bloggers welcome @

Rebecca in Aus said...

I have a bright yellow clown hat that I bought from a fancy dress store. When I am approached I just point to the flower and the student knows to either go away or grab a book and sit next to me to read quietly until I can find out what's happening.
Funny story - a few weeks ago I forgot to put it on at the beginning of our guided reading session. After the third interruption (obviously because I wasn't wearing it the regular rules weren't in place!!) one of the kiddos in the small group got up, walked over to where the hat hangs, bought it back and put it on my head!

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