4 ways to liven up registration time

If you think a bit creatively, you can use registration time to boost learning and improve wellbeing, says Niall Crowley
27th November 2020, 11:34am
Niall Crowley

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4 ways to liven up registration time

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/4-ways-liven-registration-time
How Teachers Can Make The Most Of Student Registration Time In School

School is a place of routines, many of which have changed or adapted over time.

However, one routine that has changed very little in the history of schooling is taking the register. Students answer "present" or "here' and the teacher documents their attendance.

How valuable is this time and process for our students? I believe that registration time is one of the most important parts of the day and when taken advantage of, it can give your students the start they need for a day of learning ahead.

Making the most of registration time

Here are six ways in which you can do just that:

1. Present and correct

You could tell students that today, in order to be recorded as present, they must double their age and multiply it by today's date. When their name is called, they must provide the answer.

While this requires a minute's preparation on the teacher's end, it awakens the students and breathes new life into a centuries-old ritual.

Or you could ask students for a positive statement for the day ahead or to give you a word that starts and with the letter of their name. The trick is to be creative, a bit fun and do something that will get the brains ticking.

2. Start the day by ending it

Change the clock on the wall to 3pm, leave the classroom in a "lived in" state and leave workings on the board.

Then as the bell rings and the students scramble into class, start to pack up your things and get ready to leave. Inform students it's the end of the day and that before they go home, you want to hear about everything they have learned.

Cue confused faces. However, using the timetable for the day, which is displayed, and the workings left on the board, students can start to discuss what learning is likely to have "already taken place" - ie, what they should expect to learn in the day ahead.

For example, "By the end of the day I should have written a rhyming poem as there is a rhyming poem on the WAGOLL on the working wall."

It's a bit fun, of course, but it also allows the students to work throughout the day with the end goal in mind - ie, what they want to achieve today.

3. Focus on wellbeing

The wellbeing of our students is of paramount importance for us, as teachers, so try and allocate at least one morning a week to this.

Students begin to develop their very own "wellbeing toolkit", which they can add to each week.

As their toolkit begins to fill up with options such as meditation, mindfulness and positive mantras, students will begin to add their own resources that they feel work best for them and choose which one to access as they see fit.

Then you can leave a sign on the door stating it's "Wellbeing Wednesday" so students know that during registration time  they will immediately access a wellbeing activity for the allocated time.

Taking a silent register can help in creating the conditions required, too - this can be done by getting students used to signing in for their attendence on a Wednesday or providing a visual response to their name being called. Starting the day in a positive way can really help the mindset of our students.

4. Exercise

Exercise first thing is hard - but always leaves everyone feeling great once they've done it, so registration time can be a great time to get everyone moving.

You can get your class rotating in stations or circuits, with one of the exercises stationed by your desk, at which point attendance is taken.

The responses you will receive when their name is called will be far more alive than a grumbled "here" while students are sat at their desk.

Of course, this idea - and, indeed, some of the others mentioned - may not be possible in many settings at present thanks to coronavirus. But in time it could be a fun idea to introduce them to your classrooms.

The key is to think creatively and find ways to make this small period of classroom time as useful as possible.

Niall Crowley is head of Year 2 at Deira International School, Dubai. He is currently undertaking a master's in educational leadership and management with the University of Bath

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