You Have 5 Minutes? Use It Well…

After stalking around one of my favorite educator’s blogs, The Nerdy Teacher, I found this book recommendation.  I just finished this nifty little book about creating a more student centered classroom environment.  One of the main goals of Mark Barnes short professional guide is to minimize lecturing and push students to learn more independently.

A little about ASCD:  This organization was formally known as the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.  These leaders in education innovation put out the ARIAS series to enable teachers to learn more about the new developments in the educational world.  What I really like about this 50 page book (and its counterparts) is that it is meant to be as inspirational as possible and still short enough to be read in one sitting.  I read it in the summer, but could easily have read it on a normal school weekend and started integrating his philosophy into my classroom on Monday.  I found this book to be truly worth the 5.99 price from amazon.

Cool Ideas from the The 5-Minute Teacher

  • You are less the learned philosopher of the class and more the coach
  • Make every second/minute count.
  • Let go of control by empowering students curiosity and independence
  • Structure and plan the class down to the minute to ensure you are changing things up and maximizing effectiveness
  • No teacher should lecture for more than 5 minutes.  Instead teachers should get students started and let them inquire, research, discuss, etc. independently and collaboratively.
  • Allowing students to self-discover information to make it more meaningful
  • That there is an art to learning when to shut up and let the kids do it on their own.
  • Barnes has a VERY large emphasis on video in the classroom–using video to introduce material or provoke questions/curiosity in students.

This book is really accessible, but of course, the best stuff I got out of it was the technology suggestions.  It gives some great resources for being able to engage students and allow them to work independently.  My two favorite were Smore and Padlet (both easily embedded into Schoology for students to use).  Mark Barnes also has a great website with awesome tech/teaching resources called Learn It In 5.

The Bottom Line:  I kinda think of this as dynamite.  Teachers light the fuse, back away, and let the kids’ minds explode with ideas and possibilities.  This might be a weird metaphor, but too bad…I like it.  So check it out and see how you can be effective in just five minutes.

Interested in Smore?  Check out my review of here!

Like The 5 Minute Teacher?  Check out my review of Vocab Rehab, another ASCD book!


Literary Quote Chalkboard Printables

So, I looked at my classroom yesterday (pictures to come) and realized it was a bit boring.  I recently switched from desks to tables and did a few pinteresty activities to spice it up.  However, there were just not enough posters.   I refuse to buy super expensive or outdated posters, so, I decided to make my own.

I went to How to Nest for Less‘ site and downloaded their free Chalkboard Background.  Then I went to town. Using free fonts from and MS Word,  I create these twelve printables for my classroom.  Here are 12 FREE Literary Chalkboard Printables that you can download at the bottom!  Enjoy and happy start to the school year!

Angelou Chalk Bradbury Chalk Carroll Chalk Emerson Chalk Fitzgerald Chalk Green Chalk Rowling Chalk Shakespeare Chalk Shaw Chalk Twain Chalk Whitman Chalk Wilde Chalk

Download PDFs Here and Enjoy!

Maya Angelou: chalkboard sign Angelou

Ray Bradbury: chalkboard sign Bradbury

Lewis Carroll: chalkboard sign Carroll

Ralph Waldo Emerson: chalkboard sign Emerson

F. Scott Fitzgerald: chalkboard sign Fitzgerald

John Green: chalkboard sign Green

J.K. Rowling: chalkboard sign Rowling

William Shakespeare: chalkboard sign Shakespeare

George Bernard Shaw: chalkboard sign Shaw

Mark Twain: chalkboard sign Twain

Walt Whitman: chalkboard sign Whitman

Oscar Wilde; chalkboard sign Wilde