I first used this idea with a disruptive class. I set a timer at the start of the lesson and they had to be on the carpet within a minute, sitting quietly before the timer stopped. Later I used it to encourage quiet reading as well. To make it more fun, I got a big, strawberry-shaped timer.
I set it for five minutes of quiet reading, then built up the time by a minute each day - up to 15 minutes - but didn't tell the children I was doing this. I told them that while the timer is going I wanted to be able to hear it ticking or I would start it again. It has been so successful that other teachers now use the idea. I also use it if the class gets too noisy at other times. Pupils really like the timer and think it is fun.
Kirsty Larsen, St Andrews CE primary school, Lambeth