April 10, 2019 | #EarlyLang

Maximizing Short Class Periods
from April 10, 2019

On April 10, language teachers from grades K-8, and beyond, met for the biweekly EarlyLang chat. Participants discussed both the advantages and challenges of short class periods. They also shared strategies to maximize contact time with students and how to track progress in shortened class periods. Finally, they gave advice on how best to manage short teaching time.

Q1: What are the advantages of shorter class periods in #earlylang?   

One of the main advantages is that shorter classes are developmentally appropriate for the age of the students in most participants’ classes. Even 30 minutes can be a long class for the youngest #earlylang learners. If the shorter class results in greater frequency during the week, it is a bigger advantage. Language learning requires consistency and repeated practice that meeting several times weekly can provide. Another benefit is that the teacher becomes a master at prepping and streamlining materials and activities for class.

Q2: What are your struggles in delivering lessons with shorter class periods in #earlylang?

@nathanlutz, “You have to keep materials to a minimum in shorter class periods. And for anything multi-step, break it up and spread it out over class periods.”

@srtacoulehan, “Sometimes I find myself unable to wrap up a lesson properly because time flew by!”

@MundodePepita, “I find the challenge is more in the number of classes I have during the day vs how long they are. I had 9 classes today-that’s starting & stopping with new kids nine times-exhausting!”

@WESRodriguez, “I struggle with making up content when there are interruptions to the class period.”

@teachmerussion, “My major issue is zero transition time, so when PE runs over, I lose time so really my classes are 25 minutes. So I speed through the halls on my cart!”

Q3: What routines or strategies do you implement in your #earlylang classes to maximize contact time with your students?  

First, it helps to have a routine and to teach it to students. Then, begin the routine as soon as possible to maximize learning time. Using the same warmups and transitions helps students move quickly into learning mode. Another strategy is to provide an agenda or outline, in simple language, of the day’s objectives and activities. Engaging lessons with minimal busywork keep students on task. Some other suggestions can be found here. Finally, enlist student helpers–passing out/collecting papers, lights on or off, whatever is needed to make a smoother transition.

Q4: What organizational methods have helped you track progress/proficiency in shortened #earlylang classes?

Students can keep a folder to track their progress; it can also be used to record can-dos and to complete pre and post assessments. For those that use a cart, create a drawer or folder system with one drawer/folder for each class and another for extras and any props/realia needed for the day. If technology is available, Seesaw or another online tool is useful for students to maintain a portfolio of work. Finally, create an assessment chart that matches the seating chart to easily make notes and informal observations.

Q5:In what other ways do short class meetings affect your #earlylang teaching–

traveling, transitioning on a cart, other supervisory duties?

Two main challenges were mentioned–traveling or sharing a classroom and schedule changes. Many teachers have to travel to different classrooms. That requires organization and speed. Timing during class is also important to ensure leaving with enough time to get to the next class. When using another teacher’s room, the traveling teacher should make sure to discuss their expectations, such as students ready for class with their materials and any technology needs. Schedule changes can also be an issue. Language teachers are not always on a grade level team, and may not be aware of field trips, assemblies, or other types of schedule changes.

It’s reflaction (reflection + action) time! What one piece of advice would you give to someone new to short teaching times?

Organization is the key, along with routines, simplicity, and recycling activities.

Thank you to all who participated in this #EarlyLang chat! Thank you to our lead moderator, Jenny Delfini (@JL_Delf), and our co-moderator, M Cristina Rdz-Villa (@MaCristinaRV), for helping to guide the conversation. Thanks also to EMC School (@EMCSCHOOL) for sponsoring tonight’s chat and to Valerie Shull (@windycitysenora) for the images.

Want to vote for our upcoming #Earlylang topics? https://t.co/l1VbHqzLU1

This week’s chat is

sponsored by:

EMC School

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#EarlyLang chat, please go to the

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