Lesson Structure And Pacing Ideas

Instructional Pacing: How Do Your Lessons Flow?

Pacing a class so that it is practically seamless requires experience and practice — and it might be one of the most difficult difficulties for rookie teachers to overcome. For those of you who are more experienced, here’s a scenario that many of us can identify with from our early learning experiences: spending far too much time on one learning activity while having insufficient time for another, with clumsy transitions in between.

When it comes to instructional decisions that have an impact on pacing, what else is on the teacher’s plate? How to chunk and scaffold content so that it is appropriate for each grade level, as well as for deciding on the most effective teaching modality.

Take a look at the essentials when it comes to timing the lesson and learning, which include:

1. Create a sense of impending doom. The actual skill of pacing is in instilling a sense of urgency while simultaneously making sure that your students are not left behind. Consider a deliberate pace rather than a frenzied one. The majority of the learners in the room agree that this pacing is absolutely fine.

Putting a timer on your desk (or using this one) can help generate the “we are on the clock” vibe — while moving slowly forward and allowing for plenty of waits and think time in between each step. If a teacher asks a question of the entire class, don’t anticipate an answer in the first second, or even the first two or three. When you’re faced with a really difficult question, count to five before answering it. We all need to slow down from time to time to move the learning forward in the classroom.

2. Make your objectives crystal clear. One strategy to avoid a sluggish class pace is to ensure that the learners are fully aware of what they are learning and doing throughout the day. “Our aim today is to uncover…, and we will accomplish this through…,” says the team. Keep students focused as you transition from one learning activity to another by declaring how much closer they are to achieving the day’s objective with each new learning activity they participate in.

3. Make seamless transitions. Speaking of transitions, effective ones reveal deliberate pace and a clear understanding of what comes next. Prepare for the next action two steps ahead of time, and begin setting up for the following activity before you have finished the previous one. During the time that students are completing one item of learning, pass out any materials, set up the projector, or prepare instructional notes so that there is little to no downtime between one learning activity and the next.

4. Confirm that all materials are ready. This will allow you to maintain the momentum of the flow. Make sure you have all of your materials ready, including handouts, markers, scissors, and construction paper. In many classrooms, teachers build tiny supply containers of supplies such as glue sticks, scissors, and other writing implements, which they place in the center of each grouping of desks or team tables. Each group can elect a Supplies Captain, who is responsible for keeping track of supplies and rounding up the contents at the end of class time.

Photocopying can be a major source of frustration for teachers. Is it really necessary to print out the quiz or the writing challenge on separate sheets of paper for each student? Is it possible to have it projected on a projector screen instead? Is it possible to have just one copy of the document on the group table for everyone to look at? (Reducing the amount of time spent passing out and collecting saves time and allows the team to remain focused on the task at hand.)

5. Use visual aids to communicate instructions. This contributes to maintaining the current pace. Prepare each set of instructions in advance by writing them on the board or creating a slide in your PowerPoint or Prezi presentation. You should consider the kids that have weak listening skills if you are solely delivering oral directions: “What are we doing again?” and “What do we do after this?” The effort and time you put into making the instructions visible will be rewarded in the end.

Sixth, double-check your understanding. Formative assessments are important in pacing because they allow you to see where your students are at any given point in the course and make adjustments as needed.

Following the exact direction, pair and share generate excitement in the room. Keep it short bursts of knowledge, with “turn and converse with your elbow partner” breaks every five to seven minutes of fresh information to keep it interesting. Walk around the room and listen in to see if everyone is on the same page. These intervals, which allow pupils to converse with one another, can be as little as 45 seconds. Non-verbal quickies, such as thumbs up/thumbs down, can also be used to gauge where pupils are at and determine whether further time or re-teaching is required.

7. Select the most effective type of instruction. What methods will I use to communicate this new information to my students? This is a question that teachers must ask themselves regularly when designing lessons. Sometimes new knowledge is so unfamiliar to students that they require first a visual depiction of it, followed by some information straight from their teacher to consider. Other times, it is best to set up a circumstance that is connected to the students’ schema, with group work following after. As crucial as deciding on the subject is deciding on the instructional modality (direct instruction, student-centered instruction, or facilitation).

Is it necessary to switch the manner of delivery when the pacing appears to be off? Is it necessary to provide a brief mini-lecture to clear up some misunderstandings? Is it possible that a re-energizing activity, such as a choral reading or a class A-Z lineup, will be required? Maintain the flow and rhythm of the room by incorporating a variety of activities in several formats.