Monday, June 15, 2009

The Last Five Minutes

In my last post--Lesson Design and Classroom Management, June 14, 2009--I stated that teachers need to find ways to engage students during the last five minutes of class as much as students are engaged in learning throughout the class period. When faced with finding something to engage students during that time, all teachers are initially over-whelmed with the task and uncertain as to what to do. Perhaps this blog can serve as a forum for teachers to begin posting ideas as comments. If it happens, I will then compile the suggestions into a later blog for easier access.

Thinking about the last five minutes and considering what I would have students do, I came up with the following, which is directly related to teaching grammar--as I was an English teacher. I believe the basic idea could be applied to other disciplines:

As I enter the last five minutes of class, I turn on the overhead projector or pull off a sheet of paper that had been concealing the task as written on the board or hand the assignment to students, copied onto a half sheet of paper. The assignment contains two sentences; for instance, "Larry asked that I keep the information between he and I." and "Larry asked that I keep the information between him and me." The assignment states that one of the sentences is correct. Students are to determine which sentence is correct and write a single paragraph (100-300 words) explaining their reasoning. The assignment is due as they leave.

This would certainly cause a bit of hysteria at first, but as students became accustom to this, they would engage immediately and be able to complete the task successfully. The writing is important. It is through the writing that the teacher is able to assess the reasoning skills of the student. I suggest that this would be used no more than twice a week, but that it would definitely be used at least once every week for the entire semester.

What are your ideas?

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