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Friday, 1 March 2013

Student Strategies: More asking for help

I am always looking for strategies to use in classrooms that allow students to not get caught up on one question.

I often use a thumbs up if you get it, thumbs down if you don't and a 'so-so' hand if you are in between. If there are a lot of thumbs down I can explain again, in a different way, a small handful of thumbs down, I may bring the small group to the carpet, or my desk, or a work table to re-teach in a different way.

Another strategy I have used is pairing up the thumbs up with a thumbs down students to peer help. Often hearing it in a different way, seeing it done or trying it themself is enough to get them going. Nut not always. In cases where students are 'stuck' on a problem, they often stop... wait for teacher intervention/help.

In large classes, it is sometimes a challenge to get to everyone quickly, so I encourage them to skip the question and move on until I get to them.

This blog had a neat idea for students to ask for help during work time.This idea, can be added to that so that students have visually indicated where they are at and so that I can help students in need.

Write this on the board so everyone is clear on how it works.

The only supplies needed are some colored construction paper! This is a great way to gauge student’s progress during independent work. Students use cards to indicate whether they are good to go (green), struggling a bit (yellow) or stuck (red).
Student fold a piece of coloured paper on desk like this and put whichever colour on top to indicate i they need help.

This allows me to intervene early for students on yellow, and reteach on the spot for students on red. Additionally, if I see a whole lot of red cards at the start of the independent practice, then I can reteach to the whole class.
This idea reminds me of the 'red cup / green cup' strategy to ask for help that I blogged about last year.

What other ideas have you seen or tried?

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