By this time in the year, students *should* know all your routines and your classroom is a well oiled machine of productivity, even during small group time while most of your students are independently working!
Or it's not.
Or it's somewhere in between.
Because let's face it. Even some of the most organized and well-managed classrooms still have students that struggle daily with being accountable with their learning when you aren't able to be by their side throughout every minute of the day.
I'm still trying to find ways to help those kiddos without interrupting my small group time, which is so important. But for some reason, small groups are hard for me to get started and roll through even without interruptions, so I need to include some tools to help things run smoothly.
Introducing: Non-Verbal Accountability Tools(I literally just had to name it something and that's what I came up with in the last 5 seconds- it could use some work).
My first tool I use, is a checklist for some of my students. I simply lay it down and use packing tape all over it to seal it onto their desk. Then, my students can use white board markers and check them off as they go. On the check lists are activities I want them to complete. Most of my readers are just supposed to read during our independent reading time. But others have some additional skills to practice as well. In between my small groups I can go check to see their progress.
The second tool isn't just for reading. I haven't implemented it yet, but I'm excited to give it a try to reinforce what I've been saying since day 1.
Do you have kids who are pulled out for one reason or another? The nurse? An intervention? An emergency potty break that just can't be avoided? It always seems to happen before you give directions on what to do for independent work time, doesn't it?
Well I'll be trying this tool to try to remind students of ways to get back into learning when they miss directions and I have a small group running. Right next to our door we have a shelf. I'm going to put this sign inside a frame and put a stack of colorful cups next to it. Then, when a student comes back and I am not able to stop what I'm doing immediately to help them, they can guide through it themselves with the verbal reminders I've given forever.
- Look for clues
- Look at what your classmates are doing
- Ask a neighbor (the whole "Ask 3 before me" thing really does work).
But even if they are still clueless, they can take a cup and put it on their desk and take a book out to read. After my group is done, I can go check in and meet up with them to answer any questions. My group continues to run and my students are learning to problem solve and go with the flow (something that is very hard for many of them).
I also made some smaller ones to tape onto desks for students who need the reminder right at their desk, inspired by my checklist.
If you'd like the editable Independent Reading Jobs Desk tags click the image below.
If you'd like the signs for the cup thing-a-majig, click the image below.