Increasing the pace of children’s work has to become part of your Classroom management strategy.
However do remember that this is a progressive expectation, so don’t be unrealistic in the early stages of the Autumn term.
Standards of presentation will slip!
That’s just the way it is….and when you are expecting this then it should not unsettle you – they will return!
So what do I mean by standards of presentation. Within my own classroom management strategies I am a stickler for detail and the children doing as they have been asked. There are 3 steps involved in implementing new things in class…it’s a broad based overview but it can be applied to most things:_
- Tell the children what you expect
- Show them how this should be done
- Practice it.
So lets put this in a simple context and yes this is one I have actually done!
Colouring with wax crayons….I am a great believer in the use of wax crayons at school (I am in the minority I know) however for classes I have taught Y5 and below, we use wax crayons. However there is a techniques to using wax crayons and it needs to be taught.
So I teach this to the children.
- I talk about wax crayons and how we want to use them….we look at how things can go wrong and the techniques of colouring with them
- I demonstrate the things we have just discussed
- The class gets to practice colouring using the crayons and we analyse the results and discuss things.
Its the simple things but that’s how they are implemented – you can’t expect what you haven’t taught!
And so it is with the presentation of work – as part of my class management strategies I will have introduced just how I expect things to be set out and I will have gone through the 3 steps as listed. So this is set in stone….it never changes; and if it is not done then the work is rubbed out and repeated.
But when we are starting to increase our expectations on speed of work then the quality of the children’s writing and presentation will get WORSE. The manner of presentation should not change but the quality will dip as the children try to work at a faster pace. If you expect this as the class teacher then it is no surprise or disappointment…it will return to previous standards and better as the new pace of things becomes the norm.
We discussed yesterday in class strategies such as “the speaking clock” and also “checking on walkabout.” In this way you are raising the expected pace of the work as it happens. However you must introduce a final expectation into the equation and this is how I do this….
At the end of the lesson – of course having raised the pace of the lesson slightly then you have also let the children know that they will be expected to have this work completed by the end of the lesson. I do the following 2 things….
- With 5 minutes to go I walk around the class and look at what every child is doing…I can either give praise as to what has been completed, advise on how much more needs to be done or simply chivvy along by saying they need to really get on with it!
- When the time is up, I move around the class and look at everyone’s work. If there are gaps that need to be filled or incomplete work then the name of that child is noted and they will have to complete the work in their own time.
I do this with most pieces of work and it becomes the expected practice in class…all the children are aware this will be happening and can work towards successful completion.
As with everything in class, progress takes time – but consistency is the key and if you keep applying the same standards and expectations then the children will rise to meet them. From initially having quite a few children staying to complete work you will see numbers fall until everyone is up to speed.
With the demands of an increasingly complex and overloaded curriculum it is important that children can approach the work with confidence and the necessary skills. The ability of children to focus and concentrate in getting work completed in a given time should be a important part of your classroom management strategy. It not only ensures curriculum delivery but creates in itself a working ethos in the class which in turn leads to success and achievement for every child whatever their level.