Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Leave it to the TABLE LEADERS!

As I sit on my couch enjoying a little summertime relaxation, I can't help but to hear that little voice in the back of my head.  You know the one -- the teacher voice -- the one that never shuts off.  As teachers we are CONSTANTLY thinking about our students and our teaching, and let's be honest ... there just isn't enough time in the day.  

I decided to dedicate Tuesdays to blogging about ways to take advantage of every second of your day. As you prepare your classrooms for students, I'd love to share some ideas for using time wisely and working smarter, not harder.  Today, let's chat about letting your kids do the work. 

Last year was my first year teaching Kindergarten and I have to admit, I spent the first 6 weeks doing WAY too much for my kids.  As Kindergarten teachers, it's our job to ease them into school and responsibilities but it is also our job to make our kiddos independent!  One way you can do this is by letting the kids handle the supplies/paper pass out/collection of materials.  Cue: Table leaders.  

I have 5 tables in my classroom.  They are labeled with the vowels: a, e, i, o, and u.  Starting very early in the year, I assign table leaders to each of these tables.  Each student at the table will get an opportunity to be table leader for a week at a time, and seriously y'all, they L-O-V-E it.  You would think you've invited them on an all-expense paid trip to Disney.  Below is my ugly Table Leaders chart from last year.  Ugly but functional... definitely will be updating! 

The table leader's number 1 responsibility is to retrieve supplies.  I CAN NOT tell you enough how much time this will save you in the course of your day/week/month/YEAR.  Do not waste another second passing out supplies individually or by table.  In my classroom, we use community supplies.  After explaining an activity, I will tell students what supplies they will need to complete the activity and then, this is the magical part you guys, I don't touch a single supply!!  I simply say "Table leaders, please go get the supplies for your table!" 

They go here.  Our center shelves house the caddies for each table.  You can see that they are labeled a,e,i,o, and u to correspond with each of the tables.  The table leader may only take supplies from their table's caddy.

They see this.  Depending on the activity, they might just grab the cup of pencils.  They might grab pencils and crayons.  There are times when they will pick up the whole caddy and take it to their tables. 

In a matter of 10 seconds, all the supplies are at the table and ready to be used.  I haven't moved from the whole group setting and I'm ready to dismiss the rest of the students to begin.  

 Having table leaders and relying on them for distribution, collection, and even answering their peers' questions frees me up to do what I should be doing: teaching!  I'm no longer the distributor or collector... I'm the teacher!  The kids love the responsibility and the *high honor* of being the table leader. 

Be sure to check back next Tuesday for another time and sanity saving tip!