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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Many view classroom management as how a teacher runs the day-to-day operations of the class. In the 21st century, classroom management goes beyond the classroom walls. To keep students working and focused on the tasks at hand, a Web site can be utilized to make class time more efficient.

Making Up for Lost Time

In the old days (read: pre-Internet), students who missed class would come to the teacher and ask for missed homework sheets or other assignments that might have been passed back while they were gone. A teacher might use a folder where extra copies of work could be found if students needed extra copies because their German Shepherd mix ate it for dinner the night before.

A teacher might then spend time directing students to the folder or making copies for the number of students that were missing. Much time would be spent taking care of the students that were gone, that it would eat into the time that day for students that are there. On average, a teacher might spend around 5 minutes of class time dealing with absent students and another 10 minutes or so setting up the work for the students that missed a day. In class time alone, that is almost 15 minutes.

Think of the discussions that could have been had with all that extra time. Not to mention the boredom that would be averted among the kids who were there the previous day.

Resource for Missed Materials

Fortunately, the Web provides a much better way to manage class time, and my life became much easier with the creation of my class Web site. I had to put in some extra hours up front, but the time it has saved me over the long-term has been spectacular.

All assignments are posted on the site with links to all handouts. Every day is detailed for the current week. If a student is absent, all they have to do is go to the site and print out any work they missed. They can use the school's library to do this in the morning, at lunch or after school.

In this way, I no longer have to worry about keeping an absent folder with current handouts in it for students. I keep passed-back work in a folder for kids to get on their own time before or after class.

Live Blogging Increases Student Engagement

It has not only freed up time and space in my room, but also made for some great opportunities for student engagement.

I started live blogging my classes last year and it was great! Students take notes in class and post them to the class blog. From there, students and parents can see what actually happened in class. The discussions, literary terms, themes, etc are all detailed in the class notes. I no longer have to answer the question, "What did I miss yesterday?" If they do ask that question, I simply reply, "Web site."

By embracing technology, I have made the day-to-day operations of my classroom run a bit smoother and save me needed time in the long run.

Other Tools?

Which tools do you use that might make the classroom experience a little better for everyone?

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