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Daily Agendas are tools for Accountability

June 4, 2012

If you want to give a firm message to the students that you mean business, a good instructional plan is the key. Trust is an important value to establish in the teacher student relationship, and it is tightly connected to time. The minute you say or do something that is interpreted as a waste of time, you have lost trust. The minute you have lost trust, you have destroyed the ability to make connections and reach the student.

Reflect for a moment about someone who has asked for your time, maybe 15 minutes, but then it takes 30 minutes or worse, an hour, without any consideration of your schedule. Do you remember how you felt? Often a piece of you will never trust that person when it comes to time, and worse, you probably tuned out after the agreed upon time thinking about where you were supposed to be. Maybe the opposite happened and in your class you thought an activity would take the students 30 minutes but it only took 10. Now you are scrambling to fill the time and the students have an opportunity to disconnect and think about all the other pressing things they have to do today.

A well planned class is designed to support unit objectives. Each class should be planned to the minute. A successful instructor not only knows the subject matter, but intentionally uses proven methods to engage students over a sustained period of time.

Consider posting an agenda on the board each day as a tool for accountability. Encourage your students to write it in their notebooks as a daily log of class instruction. Repeating this behavior supports accountability, high expectations, and time management. An agenda builds trust as you demonstrate that you are maximizing time and avoiding wasting time.  Here is an example agenda:

Monday, 6/4/12

  1. Collect homework and review
  2. Introduce XYZ on pg. 123
  3. Activity (be specific)
  4. Due next class: ABC
  5. Review

Now, the student knows exactly what you are doing today, has the homework out and ready to turn in or be checked, probably has his/her book opened to page 123 to see what you are working on today, and is thinking about ideas for the activity. The homework is clearly posted as a reminder for the next class and a quick oral review at the end of the class reminds the student that he/she will need to listen carefully as there is some form of assessment at the end of the class.

Instructors are often interrupted or in some cases engaged in unplanned discourse and have to rush through end of class homework reminders or class announcements. Maximize your time by using an agenda and you will find you have minimized the often unorganized rush out of the classroom.

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