Procedures are an easy way to reduce classroom management issues by increasing efficiency, setting clear expectations, and improving the classroom environment. Setting a procedure to start class is vital to ensure that each and every day starts off on the right foot. Bell work is a common practice. In the science classroom, this can be called a "Science Starter.”
In my own classroom, I teach my students to enter class, get their notebooks from the appropriate shelf, and begin their Science Starter. They begin this process while I am still greeting my students at the door and taking attendance as they enter. When the bell rings, I enter class and set a timer - typically for about 2 minutes. The timer is projected so that students are aware of the time they have left.
After entering attendance into the computer, I begin making my rounds of the room, stamping completed work. To earn the stamp, students must have the question and an answer. At this point, I don't care what the answer is. For the most part, students work to identify the correct answer. On occasion, a student may take advantage of this policy and write something along the lines of "apple." For my purposes -- which is to simply start class quickly, quietly, and efficiently while I complete mandatory "housekeeping" tasks -- the occasional "smart aleck" is not a concern.
When the timer goes off, I quickly stamp any students I had missed (whose work is complete), and then we review the question. Students are expected to correct their work, or they will not receive credit for the answer when I collect the Science Starters. Students return the papers to their folders until the page is filled. All of this takes no more than roughly 5 minutes.
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