No Series: Time on Task: Increase Focus & Productivity

Time on Task: Increase Focus & Productivity

Lesson Objective: Enhance student and teacher productivity by consistently timing tasks
All Grades / All Subjects / Timers


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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. How does establishing a specific time for tasks increase student productivity?
  2. What is the impact of the using a timer on the teacher's effectiveness?
  3. Notice how the timing of tasks helps lesson flow and transitions between tasks.?


  • Private message to Julia Marcucci

1. Time helps keep the task at hand for the students.

2. Time limits help keep the educator organized and divides time well for students and more topics for learning. 

3. Time can make a concrete structure for how the class will be taught and that with time cut-offs, students can learn more topics after the time has gone up, instead of lingering and spanning out the time to make things easier which is not the case.

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  • Private message to Bonita Lowrance
Student productivity is increased for most students when time limits are established because it enables the student to know exactly how much time they have to complete the activity so they remain on task. Sometimes time limits decrease student productivity because they become so focused on the time they forget the task. The clicking time cause a distraction and stress for some students while others that could finish the task more quickly may delay starting or completing thinking they still have time. The impact of the use of a timer increases teacher effectiveness because the teacher can see how much time is left so they don't spend too long on each activity so they can get all parts of the lesson in on tim
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  • Private message to Laurene Colahan
This is actually the same timer I use in my classroom and it is a very effective tool. The students like having a visual reminder and for those students who do not know how to read time on a clock, it gives them a sense of involvement because they are able to participate and read the timer for the class.
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  • Private message to Alecia Page
I like this a lot. I tend to lose track and my students end up having too much time or not enough. I also have some students who get off task and do not complete the work on time. This makes work get lost in their desks because they hide it to finish later. If I use this strategy I can say the work must be ready to turn in once the timer goes off.
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  • Private message to Alison Turner
Lesson Planning and pacing are two of the topics that are coached early in the school year.
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  • Interviewer: [Music] I want you to take about three minutes. I’m gonna give you three minutes.

    Time limits help keep

    Interviewer: [Music] I want you to take about three minutes. I’m gonna give you three minutes.

    Time limits help keep the kids focused on the task at hand. I’m also big about having the time visible and checkin’ in with kids. “How much time do ya have left?” They should be able to tell me, “I have five minutes,” “I have two minutes.”

    How much time do ya have left?

    Interviewee: [Crosstalk 00:26] Forty seconds.

    Interviewer: Put your last comment or question down, please.

    If there’s no structure and there’s no expectation for them, the kids will take advantage of that. “Oh, we need two more minutes. We need ten more minutes.” They know, “Okay, I have five minutes to accomplish this. I need to be efficient, and I need to be productive.” It helps us get through everything that we need to do smoothly.

    All right, your time is up. Let’s come back together and see what you’ve come up with.

    Time limits help keep me organized. It helps with my pacing. It lets me know if I’ve given kids ten minutes to complete a task, I can divide up my time. If I know I need to get to five particular kids in the room or I need to see three groups that are in the room, I know the time that I have to complete that. [Music]

    [End of Video 01:21]

School Details

Rancho Milpitas Middle School
1915 Yellowstone Avenue
Milpitas CA 95035
Population: 721

Data Provided By:



Dr. Melina Johnson


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