The First 5 Minutes a la The Nerdy Teacher

I read a post by The Nerdy Teacher where he discusses using the first 5 minutes of class as time for students to chat with each other and time for the teacher to chat and get to know the students. Part of the rationale is that by getting the chatting out of the way at the beginning, students are much more ready to go by the time class begins 5 minutes after the bell.

I am all in favor of this. If chatting at the beginning makes management and engagement better throughout the rest of the period, using the first 5 minutes for this purpose is well worth it.

What I’ve been taught to do is start class with a warm-up or a Right Now activity. To incorporate this new idea of the first 5 minutes, I might direct conversation towards something in the news or a new movie coming out so that all students can chat about basically the same thing before having a focused discussion or a writing prompt later. Or the task might be something small and quick like correcting grammar in a paragraph where students can work together and still have time to chat after finishing.

Or, using the first 5 minutes as chatting time might be used as incentive for good behavior: if students can get on task and get their materials ready in a timely manner, the next day they can have 5 minutes of chatting as they get settled.

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