I once remember reading in an educational psychology book fifteen years ago about the value of limiting students’ time on activities.
That is, it is important not to give kids too much time to work. Too much time can encourage them to waste the time (as economists call it, we consume the time given to us) rather than use it for getting work done. Students will often procrastinate if given too much time. Therefore, it is better to give students a short amount of time to get tasks done.
Unfortunately, I forgot about these ideas for many years until they gratefully resurfaced when I read about the value of timers from Rick Morris’ ideas of classroom management and how he uses timers to keep kids on track. I also received many brilliant insights from the great guru Jon Corippo, including the need to limit time for students to give them pressure and incentive to work quickly.
This year, I have made an effort to do this with just about every activity, and it makes a huge difference in the classroom environment. Kids do not have the opportunity to slack off because they are under the pressure to work efficiently. It gives the class a feel of a faster pace, which also aids engagement and excitement. It is easy to display computer-based timers, such as the Online Countdown Timer and 1-Click Timer.
What if it is genuinely not enough time for some students to complete work? I always give them a chance to submit or resubmit incomplete work on Google Classroom by the beginning of the next day.
You want a livelier classroom? Keep it movin’, folks.