Dollar Store Goodie: Timers

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Dollar Store Goodie: Timers

Ever have those student that seem to spend mysteriously large amounts of time in the media center or running errands around the school? I have a few of these, and I found a simple (and cheap!) solution–Dollar Store Timers!  The timers shown are from the Dollar Tree, but any digital timer will work!

First, attach the timer to the media center pass. My library pass is on a long necklace, reducing how many times it’s lost while students search for books. I wrap the necklace string around the plastic stand piece on the back of the timer and then make it stay with a piece of masking tape.

Next, with your students, determine how much time is needed to get to the media center, search, and get back to the classroom. You can even have a few students run some time trails during their media center trips that day. You can always tweak this time as you see fit if it’s too much or too little time. My students use 4 minutes.

Then, teach the students how to set the timer for your chosen time and also STOP the timer’s alarm. I did NOT want my students to be causing a ruckus in the media center, so we practiced hitting the stop button as quickly as possible. This way, IF the timer did go off in the media center, they wouldn’t be distracting others.

Finally, teach the students WHEN to start and stop the timer. The beeping isn’t loud, but I asked my students to set the timer as soon as they stepped out of the classroom and just outside the door when they returned. This way, they weren’t distracting anyone with the tiny “beep beep” the buttons make.

This process really improved the efficiency of every media center visit, made students plan what they would search for before ever reaching the media center, and helped with their time estimation skills. ALSO, the Media Specialist LOVED it. She told me that she wished all the teachers would use the timers, because it eliminated the fooling around that she had to deal with in the media center! She said the students would look down at the timer and then pick up the pace in making their selection.

How do YOU encourage your students to use their time wisely? I’d love to hear your ideas!

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4 responses »

  1. Pingback: Mapping Your Universe « ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  2. GREAT idea! I just linked it to Mapping Your Universe, the latest post in my TaskMaster series on my ADD-focused WordPress blog.

    MY students are adults training to be ADD Coaches – so they’ll be thrilled to find a new source for tips to help their clients. Since most of them also have what I call Attentional Spectrum dysregulations themselves (this from the ADD Poster Girl herself), there will probably be a few personal ahas! as well.

    Thanks for sharing! Congrats on your impending nuptuals too.

    Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CMC, SCAC, MCC – (blogging at ADDandSoMuchMore and ADDerWorld – dot com!)
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    • So glad to hear it will be helpful to someone else! Thanks for the link and the feedback. Your work sounds so interesting–going to check your sites out now! 🙂

      • Thanks – and thanks for the “like” on “Mapping Your Universe” too.

        You must be an AMAZING teacher. I love the ideas you share — and many of them are *perfect* for ADD kiddos (the pedometer, for example). I’m getting your feed now, so I’ll be on the lookout for other places to share what you are doing. (I work with adults, but THEY sometimes work with younger ADDers, and many of them have ADD children themselves).

        You probably will not know for YEARS how far your positive teaching methods will take these kids, but if every one of my clients and students had been in YOUR class, they wouldn’t have hated school and would have come away a lot better educated (and I wouldn’t have so much “self-talk repair” work to do with them).

        FYI: Feel free to grab anything useful to your work from my site (I’m sure you run up against your share of attentional challenges) — and if you recall posts you’ve written in the past that fit with anything I have written (or write), leave me a link in the comments below the article it fits with, and I’ll (eventually, grin), move the link INTO the article itself. (My blog is more like a website — older content still gets read, since it’s info-based, but not everybody reads the comments.)

        I want to point you to a resource you may not be aware of – Phillip Martin – an artist/educator I’ll bet you’d fall in love with. I have a link on my right sidebar to him – a thank you for allowing me to use so MANY of his graphics, designed for the classroom, btw. He makes them available free for teachers. (Check out his mural project too – it made me teary, I was so touched) You are two of a kind (not match-making, btw. – colleagues).

        Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CMC, SCAC, MCC – (blogging at ADDandSoMuchMore and ADDerWorld – dot com!)
        “It takes a village to educate a world!”

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