At my school, I have four supervising duties per week, two of which are lunch recess duties. When recess was over, I was having a management problem because often my students would be in the classroom waiting for me to start the lesson and I wouldn't be there right away. As a supervisor, I am usually one of the last ones in the building. I have to get everyone inside, lock the doors, and possibly fill out incident reports, mediate recess issues, and talk to teachers who may have had students with recess issues. Sometimes I could take me 10 minutes or more to deal with recess issues! You can only imagine what my students were doing while I wasn't in the room...
Enter Quiet Time. Quiet time is a way students can regroup and refocus after being away from the classroom for 45 minutes for lunch and recess. It starts when the recess bell rings at 12:15 and ends at 12:30. Most kids don't get the full 15 minutes because it takes a few minutes to get inside and situated. Also during the winter when kids are wearing their snow gear, it takes even longer to get into the classroom. Here are the rules:
I've had to be pretty strict on what they can do. I want the options to be quick to clean up, so that when we're done, we can transition quickly to the next subject. I used to allow kids to make things with scissors, glue, tape, and staples, but not only was it a huge mess to clean up, but they would be up and walking around the room and I would often find little scraps of paper on the floor. So now we stick to coloring a picture. I've also told them they can have only one piece of paper per day because some of them were coloring 5 pictures in 15 minutes, and I'd like quality drawings. Read about my 5 Color Rule! I also used to allow students to rest at their desks with their heads down, but that often lead to talking.
Here's why I LOVE Quiet Time for Students:
- Students have a routine to do when they come in.
- It's a time to allow students to regroup and refocus back on school after lunch and recess.
- Nobody is missing instruction time because they are being pokey by their coat hook. Instead they're missing out on their own free time!
- Coloring a picture is an option. With all of our curriculum and standards, a lot of the coloring and art projects have been cut. Now they can have that creative outlet again.
- It's the PERFECT time to take a bathroom break!
Here's why I LOVE Quiet Time for Me:
- I can mediate recess issues if necessary without feeling rushed to get back and start teaching.
- When I get back to the room, I actually use this time as a teaching or intervention time! I will pull an extra reading group, do a running record, or pull a small group for reteaching, and I don't have to worry about what the others are doing.
So that's my Quiet Time in a nutshell. What do you think? If you give it a try, let me know how it goes for you!