I was reflecting on my routines in the classroom and thought there had to be a way to get the children ready to go home in a better manner. All of my class piling into our small(ish) cloakroom at once was too messy and noisy. I tried to stagger which children went to the cloakroom, but found it difficult to think of what to do with the other pupils while some were getting their coats. I tried doing some reading as a class, but the pupils coming and going disrupted the process and also my children didn’t want to ‘miss’ any of the story while they were out of the room. I tried individual reading, but found it was taking a long time for children to select a book from our little class library. Also, they kept getting up to change their book often without having really read it! At the end of the day when they are all a bit excitable, I didn’t feel that reading was the answer.
I’ve begun to try the following:
The pupils are at their tables, where they have a mini-whiteboard and pen each. They are allowed to draw or write anything that they have learned in school that day. They LOVE this and it helps to embed the day’s learning, meaning they have something in mind when they step out of school and a parent asks ‘what did you learn today?’.
My pupils sit in Kagan groups of four to a table, so while everyone else is busy drawing or writing I call out a number and that numbered person off each table goes and gets their belongings, then returns and carries on with their picture. This means everyone in the classroom is kept engaged with a useful task while batches of my children are getting their things to go home.
I won’t say that it’s so quiet you can hear a pin drop, but the noise level is greatly reduced now and there’s been a drop in the number of incidents of children getting pushed or shoved accidentally.
This activity usually takes about 10 minutes, then just before the children leave I choose a few drawings to share with the class that I think show particularly good examples of things we were learning.
The only negative with this activity is that it is important before the children go home for the day that they tidy away their whiteboards and pens and don’t leave them scattered on the table! An alternative I might try is to have the children write on paper and take this home to show their parents/carers.