Back in September, I bought a stack of privacy partitions. I had never used them before, but when I saw them in a school supply catalog, they intrigued me. They are plain, black cardboard pieces with two flaps. They fit most school desks and are meant to help students focus on their work.
Since they arrived in the fall, I’ve been using them for test days. I don’t use them often, as the boards are meant as a environmental signal that things are getting SERIOUS!! It’s helped immensely. When they come into the classroom and see the boards set up, they stiffen up and sneak around the room quietly, making sure not to disturb anyone else who’s already arrived. Whispering and discussion between kids has now gone down to minimal and they seem to be able to focus better.
Here is a shot of y Grade 11s writing a math test.
Today, I also began collecting cellphones and electronics too. Most of my Grade 11s are fairly respectful and know how my classroom works, so no one batted an eyelash or hesitated when I produced the basket with an outstretched hand.
Definitely a great investment if it’s in your budget!