The First Ten Minutes Can Save or Break You


What you do in the first ten minutes of a class can set the tone for the entire period. Every teacher has experienced that overwhelmed feeling when the kids hit the room and chaos is in the air. One way to change this is to pick something that you do every day for the first five or ten minutes of class. Journal writing works well. They can read. They can work on a mini-assignment due at the end of ten minutes. Anything will work. The idea is to make up something that fits your subject area and plug it in the first five or ten minutes of every class. Do it every day. The kids will learn that instead of sitting around talking for the first five minutes, they are required to be in their seats, journals out and writing. This will give you a chance to take attendance, put papers away, get the lesson plan materials organized. . .or simply to breath. If you have everything else done, you can simply walk around class and touch base with a few students. The quiet one who never talks. The one who disrupts class to get attention. The one who needed a little extra help. You can always sign off on that day's journal entry and use the extra time for a little one on one with a student. Class is quiet. Class is busy. The tone is set for an easy transition into whatever is next. It is a small variable teachers can control, but it has a significant impact on the entire 55 minutes.


Steve Simpson is the editor of Ed.Net Briefs (, a weekly online education newsletter with more than 60,000 readers. He earned his Ph.D. in communications at the University of Washington. He can be reached by e-mail at .


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