If you are teaching homeroom or have a planning period, this time is the start of education every day. You spend time on your lesson plans and teacher development activities, so why not put some effort in the most important part of the day.
It is important for teachers to be awake, dressed neatly and ready to inspire their kids to learn. There is nothing more uninspiring than to sit under a boring teacher who doesn’t even look like they want to be there.
If you are dealing with high schoolers you may not have much time, but you can adapt many of these ideas to fit your situation.
If you are dealing with “your” class in the lower grades, this time can be a joyous time of awakening the senses. If you are thoughtful, and creative you can gear your students up for the subject matter to come. They will be amazed as they see the entertainment of Planning period or Home Room flow into the real work they are asked to do. This is one sure fired way to show kids that learning is not just during open book time; it is a lifestyle. Check out these ideas to see which ones you can incorporate into your class.
Set the mood:
Play soft music with an undertone of excitement as this will gear the kids towards waking up. Music without words is best. Orchestra music has been proven to help kids learn. Keep the volume low and watch the voice level match the music level.
Wake up the mind and body:
Most schools have breakfast but not all kids get in on that. Most do not eat at home either. It’s rush, rush, rush to school every day.
Serve breakfast snacks or food. Try to include a protein source, healthy carbohydrates, and real juices. If you have diabetics in your class or those with food issues, try to have something for them. Think, “healthy”.
If you cannot do this, maybe have a open space in the room for everyone to do yoga or mind centering type exercises like stretching. These types of activities are outside the box as they say but can prepare the student to learn. First they need energy, food provided that. Second they need to wake up their bodies so their minds will thrive. Mind centering exercises accomplishes this. Make them easy so anyone can participate. You don’t want to invite bullying or teasing of an overweight child.
Be creative and time conserving with roll call:
To avoid roll call. Have the kids pick up a token from their desk or off of a door hanging before they come in the room, that has their name on it. A tip: purchase an over the door shoe hanger with enough slots for the number of students you have. Just be sure they can reach it. If this won’t work make your own lower version.
They then can pass the token to you, and you or you can pass a basket around. You the teacher can fill out the roll when they are working on something else. If this is high school that would be different as they change classes usually. This sort of thing of picking up a ticket and turning it in , gears their minds towards punching a time ticket at work. The over the door hanging will work for them.
Have storytelling time:
Have story telling time. Much has happened in their lives after school, it can get in the way of learning if they are itching to share. Why not have them share with everyone at the onset and fore go talking in class when its time to be quiet.
I think kids should pledge to the flag. It promotes patriotism. If your school does not allow this, find out why, and recommend the rule be changed.
This also encourages respect. You cannot say the pledge of allegiance without thinking about what our forefathers did for us. This will encourage respect for their elders and for their country. Much good will come from it.
This also helps them know who they are. Many kids are flailing around wondering what purpose their life holds. If they know they have a solid background, no matter what is going on in their homes, this will give them a type of stability. With that, half the battle is won, and now they can sit down and learn.
All of these ideas can be adapted to any grade level. Of course high schoolers do not usually stay in homeroom very long so that should be factored in. The less amount of time you waste with roll call, the more time you have for more entertaining or mind centering activities. Give them a sense of who they are, and then proceed to teach them where they are going.
Education is a huge responsibility, and teaching begins in homeroom. Here is where you introduce your lesson plans in discreet ways, so it sticks with them later when you teach on it. Homeroom planning can go a long way towards teacher development. I hope these ideas have inspired you to make the most of your homeroom and planning period times.