How often do you set a timer in order for students to complete a task? I know I do. Most often we find a timer online, set it to countdown mode, and project it for the students to see. The students then monitor their time and adjust accordingly. Okay, they don’t focus until the last few minutes where they panic to finish on time.

What if we switched up the timer? What if we searched for time-lapse videos and projected the video? Everyone knows what a sunset looks like: the sun vanishes below the horizon. Now the students need to complete their work before the sun sets but they don’t know how much time they have! They are more likely to use their minutes wisely as they aren’t sure how many of them they will actually have.

Not into sunsets and want something a bit more whimsical? No problem. There are all kinds of time lapse videos on YouTube. This playlist has 50 drawing videos ranging in times from 2 minutes to 16 minutes.

Music cues can also be used to signal time limits (and lots more) in the classroom. Recently, Eddie Campos, Jr. posted his playlist of over 30 songs, on Spotify, for the classroom. Some songs include “It Takes Two” by Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock to signal partner work or “Bye Bye Bye” by *NSYNC to end group work. Matt Vaudrey has a wonderful blog post on using music cues in the classroom as timers, transition signals, and more, along with tips on how to get started and lots of resources.

Staying on task can be fun! The new year is upon us and you can reduce your students’ stress level while saving your voice and helping your classroom run more efficiently. It’s easy, so get started today.


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