May 02, 2007
I've struggled with students being confused after I give directions for independent work. Many of the students get right to work on an assignment, but some sit in their seats and do nothing. I race around the room giving individualized help and am often repeating myself. Now, after giving directions, I ask students to rate themselves 1-5, 1 meaning they don't understand most of what I said and 5 meaning that they could get started on the assignment as soon as I say 'go.' (To avoid embarrassment, students discreetly hold the appropriate number of fingers right in front of themselves.) I take a quick survey of the room and say that 4's and 5's can get started. I ask that anyone who rated themselves 3 or lower circle up their chairs with me so I can answer questions. I answer questions or repeat directions, and students leave the circle once they can rate themselves a 5. The students who are ready to work aren't bored by me repeating directions, and the more needy students are truly grateful for my help. Plus, I'm not running around the room sounding like a broken record!