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3 Ways to Play for Time

Secondary Supply teacher Giles, who works for Protocol Education Manchester , reveals three of his best tactics to keep a class under control when you arrive to find that no lesson plans have been left for you!

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3 Ways to Play for Time

So you’ve just walked into the classroom, and your eyes scour the surface for an A4 sheet cellotaped to the desk. There is none. What’s worse, this isn’t your subject. There’s no way you can blag a lesson on, let’s say river deltas, as the last time you studied Geography Cliff Richard was at number one in the charts.

With style and grace reminiscent of a swan gliding through the water, you approach the most trustworthy looking student and ask them if they could pop over to the head of department to ask them if there’s any work for this class. They gladly skip out and you’re left with twenty five faces staring at you.

What do you do?

Well, here’s a few things that have worked for me, and I hope you’ll get some use out of them too.

1)    Do a FUN register
Taking the register is as old as time immemorial. You say their names, they respond with a bored ‘Yes sir’. Don’t you sometimes wish this was a bit more…giggleworthy? So instead of doing this, why not try the superhero register?!?! You call out the name of a pupil and they respond with a famous superhero, and there’s no repetition allowed! Don’t know anything about superheroes? That’s fine. You can apply it to just about anything, favourite singers, favourite movies, or (a big favourite with some of my classes) celebrities you fancy. You get the kids on side, get a bit of friendly controlled banter and you’re stalling without making it look like you’re stalling.

2)    Play hangman.
Unlike your poor stick man, the classics never die. We've been taught ever since ITT that fun starters are important and I’ve seen hangman used as good practise in plenty of lessons. Don’t accept shouting out, or guessing the whole word without putting their hand up. Even if you’re not familiar with the topic you’ll still know a name or a relevant word that  you can show as being relevant to the subject e.g. Spanish: Madrid, Physics: Higgs Boson and so on. If you have a sudden mental blank then stick to recent cinema releases or what’s in the top 40. Note: They will see ‘Gangnam Style’ coming a mile off.

3)    Name and date properly please!
Writing your name and the date at the top of the page is easy right? Wrong! I like students to put my name on the left of the top line (or their own name if working on paper) and put the date in numerical format e.g. ‘2/1/13’ on the right. This seems the most logical as the eyes read from top to bottom and in Western culture we read from left to right.  Putting my name on their work also makes book monitoring a little bit easier for their regular teacher. However you like students to write this, be an absolute stickler for it. This is time to use up some of those brownie points you earned in the first two activities. Take as long as needs be to make sure they get it right, this will encourage attention to detail and clear layout.

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Tags: Giles, Supply Teacher, Teach in UK, Protocol Education, Resources

Category: Australian Teachers

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