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Re: First Five Minutes of Class


From: Bunki Kramer (bkramer_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Aug 02 2002 - 11:37:14 PDT

from: Bunki Kramer (
Los Cerros Middle School
968 Blemer Road
Danville, CA 94526
From: "Joe Cox" <>
Subject: First Five Minutes of Class
>the first five minutes of class. In Harry Wongs book he advises that a teacher
has something for the kids to do when they first enter the class, for
example a Math Teacher would put math problems on the board and English
Teacher would put words to look up. Is this a common practice among Art
It pretty much depends on the teacher and what seems to work best for you. I
think you should try it both ways and decide for yourself. It works for
others but not for me.

Since our school has been repeatedly downsized in the last three years, I'm
now teaching math as well as art (and's "interesting" for a
right-brain person to try teaching a left-brain subject..ha). I've tried
"sponge" activities like you've mentioned in both of my subject classes and
I find for me they don't work. It's the "switching gears" thing I think.

I make a visual seating chart and it takes me less than a second to take
roll so I don't NEED an extra 5 minutes at the beginning of class. I start
as soon as the bell rings or SOONER if everyone is seated which is usually
the case. In art class, the kids usually enter and get their supplies and
start working like other teachers have mentioned.

In math the kids enter and open their books and get their notebooks out with
homework, pencils primed...ready to go when the bell rings or sooner. As San
D takes good training skills to get them on this track. Kids
will generally do what you want them to IF they know what you want.

Back to the "switching gears" thing. I've found in my case that a "sponge"
takes time when you switch into teaching rattling paper, getting
other stuff, books flapping open, talking erupting, getting out of that
"learning" mode, etc....occurring for 3-4 minutes until everyone settles
down to start the lesson. I don't want to waste this time personally. I have
only 46 mins. to get everything understood and into those little containers
sitting on their shoulders.

I think sponge activities are perfect for those 2-3 minutes you might have
left at the end of class for early clean-ups.

 What about late students and students who are absent; are they allowed to
make the work up?

For art I've made "passes" for the kids to use during lunchtime to come to
my room to make up work. The passes are located on my desk and they can get
one any time they desire. They can also come early before school to work. It
the class has finished the project, I move on. The "behind" kids can still
come in to finish up which they generally do. If their lunch falls during a
class I am giving, I allow them to quietly enter and work also. I'll give
them an extra week or so to finish before I start grading. This goes for the
slow kids too.

When there's an absolute deadline for a contest for student
handbooks, etc....
the kids who were absent write on the back of their work the date of
absence, length, reason and then I'll consider that info when grading.