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Timers for Teachers: 5 Ways to Use Them in Your Classroom

Timers for teachers are an incredibly powerful classroom management tool.  If you aren’t currently using them in your classroom, read below to learn about 5 different types of timers and 5 opportunities where timers can be utilized for the classroom.  Timers for teachers are a total game changer!

This blog post will…

  • suggest 5 ways to use timers for teachers in your classroom
  • recommend types of timers for teachers and how they can be used
  • help you strengthen your classroom management skills

5 Types of Timers for Teachers

Here are 5 types of timers for teachers:

1. Online Visual Timers for Teachers

These days I use an online timer and really feel it helps my friends better manage their time. Check out this Online Egg Timer. The counting down clock is a great tool for keeping them on task. I feared the visual would be distracting, but it hasn’t been a problem. We use it for everything from snack to guided reading. I keep it running on my desktop computer since I’m never at the desk. Setting the clock at the start of a lesson is one of the jobs I assign to a student. I like it in the full screenmode.

2. Visual Timers for Teachers

This type of timer provides a great visual for even the youngest learners. It is especially helpful for the students who sometimes need some assistance staying focused to complete a task. It really helps teach them how to manage their time.

I didn’t initially purchase it for the classroom. I bought it for my son during the summer that he boycotted naps, yet I needed my sanity. We implemented a 30 minute “quiet rest time” and I bought this to help put an end to the constant questioning of, “Is it time to get up yet?”

I don’t use timers during parent/teacher conferences, but I know a lot of teachers do. I think this would be a great tool for that purpose. It won’t make a rude buzzing or beeping sound to signal time is up, but it will be obvious.

3. Hand-Held Timers for Teachers

A hand-held timer is great for when students need to use the timer. Examples of this are when they are heading to the library during your reading block in a small group and have to be back within a certain period of time or when they are working on fact fluency in a small group.

4. Magnetic Timers for Teachers

A magnetic timer makes it easy to keep track of your timer. You can display it on your white board or students can stick it on a designated are like the side of your metal teacher desk or anything else magnetic.

5. Phone Timers for Teachers

Your phone has one of the best timers for teachers and you may not even realize it! You likely have several students who have pullout services in your classroom. It can be hard to manage it all! I found that my phone timer was an effective strategy for notifying me when it was time to send a student down to OT, PT, speech, etc.

5 Ways to Use Timers for Teachers

Here are 5 ways to use timers for teachers:

1. Managing special education and RTI pull-out services

If you have a lot of students in your classroom who receive support throughout the school day outside of the general education classroom, it can be difficult to track who needs to go where and when.  The best strategy for managing this is the use of timers on your phone.  Most phones now come with a timer on it.  At the beginning of the school year, consider programming your students’ pull-out schedules in your phone so that the timer notifies you when it is time to send a child to a service or support session.  Your students will never miss a service again!

2. Managing Guided Math and Guided Reading Rotations and Centers

Your schedule is tight – I totally get it!  As a result, it’s important to monitor the length of time you are spending on each part of your school day.  Consider using an online timer, magnetic timer, or your phone’s timer to help you keep within the time constraints of the school day.  The online timer can be projected on the board or wall so that students can see how much time they have left to work on their task.  Similarly, the magnetic timer can be placed on the board so it’s visible to students.  Your phone timer is a third option.

3. Managing Student Library Trips

If your students go to the library on their own, consider having them take a hand-held timer with them to make sure they don’t stay too long.  This is particularly helpful for when the library is one of the centers in a workshop framework, where there are time limits allotted to each center.

4. Managing Fact Fluency Practice

Some school districts require timed practice tests with regards to addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts.  If this applies to you and you have a math center designated to timed fact practice, consider having students use a hand-held timer at that center.

5. Managing Reading Fluency Practice

Hand-held timers can also be helpful for monitoring and assessing reading fluency.  Reading fluency, an important part of becoming a proficient reader, involves the ability to read with 1) speed, 2) accuracy, and 3) proper expression.  Timers are a very helpful tool for this.

In closing, I hope you found this information about timers for teachers helpful! There are tons of options out there, so shop around and see which one is best for you and your classroom.

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