Something new I have been doing all year in the library is using visual timers. When I’m not using my SmartBoard for a center, I’ve been using it to project a visual timer during centers or when we’re doing an activity. I got the idea from Matt B. Gomez’s post on using visual timers in his Kindergarten classroom.
I’ve been using online-stopwatch.com’s egg timer for the most part. I’ve looked at a few iPad apps but haven’t fallen in love with any so far. If I’m projecting from my iPad, I use the regular old timer in the clock app that comes with the iPad. It also has a visual element so it works fine for the little kids. Another library teacher friend uses a timer in Smart Notebook. If you know of any other good timers, please let me know!
In terms of classroom management, the timer has been magical. It helps me be more organized which makes everything go more smoothly. The timer reminds me to give a 5 minute or 2 minute warning to check out books and makes sure we’re cleaned up, lined up, and ready to go when the classroom teacher arrives (most of the time). Not only is it easier for me to keep track of the time while I run around helping kids find books, the kids now know how much time they have before we line up and are better able to manage their time. Some kids will start to clean up when they notice less than a minute is left, they don’t start an involved activity when there’s only a minute left, kids will let me know time is up or almost up. It’s fantastic!