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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Less = More Lesson #1


It is an interesting concept less=more.

But true on so many levels. 

I will bring you a series of posts on this concept over the coming weeks, and in keeping with the general theme, I will try to keep them brief.

Remember less=more. 

If you can:
- do less, 
-have less, and 
- need less 

you will have 
-more time, 
-more energy and 
- more resources 

for YOU and your students!


Let's dig in!

Lesson #1 - decisions


When you consider how many decisions a teacher has to make in a day, you can easily see why, by 3pm you can get quite exhausted. 

Many decisions come from questions. 


Questions often come from uncertainty. 


Remove uncertainty and you can limit unnecessary questions, and in turn, decisions. 

Less decisions = more productive time for you and your class. 


There will always be some degree of uncertainty in any classroom, but there is so much of the day you can make 'routine'.

Routine simply means you do something in the same way, and expect the same pattern of behaviour in every circumstance.

The trick is it must be 100%. At least until you see your students relax into the 'I'm certain that this is the way she wants it done' mode. Then, you are free to relax to 99%.


Spend some time reflecting on your class structures, patterns and 'happenings' and consider what you can see fitting into a more structured routine.

For example, you ask your students to read a self-selected text each week that they turn to as soon as they come to their desk after each break. Each and every day, you get asked multiple questions related to the reading. Each question is an interruption in learning time and each time, you must make a decision. Questions about swapping books, abandoning texts, where to keep the texts, how many pages to read... on and on. It often disrupts other students, propels further discussion off on an alternative tangent and you often find yourself answering the same question dozens of times.

This scenario presents a wonderful opportunity for you to create a 'reading' routine. Create procedures {what, where, why, when, how} for what you expect and reinforce them with 100% certainty each day. For example, you could create an 'after break reading' routine where students:

  • select a text on Monday, 
  • have 15 minutes to choose, 
  • place a bookmark into the cover upon selection from a nearby basket, 
  • keep the book under their desk, 
  • may not change their book through the week, 
  • when 'finished', re-read for fluency 
  • must stay in their seat for 10 minutes reading 
  • can abandon or swap the following Monday.


Make these expectations firm, create a class chart or poster and reinforce them consistently. Apply this to other areas as well. 


It won't be long before the questions dry up, students are settled and most importantly, you suddenly have MORE time!


I hope this simple but practical tip helps and can't wait to share more with you over the coming weeks. If you have any fabulous ways to create 'more' time in your busy teaching day, please leave a comment or contact me so I can share it in a blog post!

- Mel x