Effectively Using Circulation and Monitoring of Students
Often teachers tell us that it is a struggle to complete the core problems during a 45-50 minute lesson. While it is never easy to keep a class progressing just as you have planned, there are ways to monitor and control when and how to move forward. First, reflect on the following question: Who is setting the pace in your classroom, you or your students? If you allow students to determine the pace, they will almost surely drag things out and waste valuable time. Rather than asking students if they “get it” or if they are “done”, keep a close eye on students' work through your circulation route and monitor student progress toward the goals you have established for the lesson." Using your role as “Knowledgeable Other”, you will know when to call a halt to team time, when to step in, when to move students forward, and when it is time for closure. When you have anticipated students thinking and know what to look for, you can set the pace without rushing students through problems just to say they are done. Prior planning can also help teachers from getting stuck helping one or two students or teams who are struggling. Focus the pacing on the effective thinking that moves towards the goal of the lesson.
An easy place to start is with Reciprocal Teaching. Have each student find a partner (it could be their elbow partner or someone from another team). One member of each pair pretends that the other was absent and explains something that they learned today. Then have the partners switch roles. This is great for vocabulary review. When teaching someone else, students are able to consolidate their thinking.
Here is the advice from CPM on circulation after sharing and clarifying the lesson goal and introducing the first task;
First time: Move around quickly to make sure that everyone is on task/following directions. Only answer clarifying questions. Do not check homework. Share positive noticings out loud with the entire class. Things like “I see four teams who have read through the first problem and are ready to discuss as a team” can help focus those that are not on task.
Second time: Make sure everyone is working and thinking. Ask/Answer questions to assess student thinking. Check homework quickly if needed.
Third time: Ask/answer questions, listen and assess student thinking. Encourage students to move towards the lesson goal by supporting any struggles in effective ways as you circulate. Select student thinking to be shared with the whole class during whole class discussion or closure. (Let them know you would like them to share so they are prepared).
Fourth time: Continue listening, supporting, and ask advancing questions (higher order thinking, connecting, extension or reflective questions are included.) Select student thinking/work for sharing and plan a sequence for your closure conversation.
Closure: Now you are prepared and ready to execute a closure discussion by asking the students that you selected to share their thinking in the order to sequence. Add in connecting questions and time for all students to continue making connections and reflecting on their understanding of the lesson goal/learning target.