Ask 3 Before Me

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Croissant, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    Sep 4, 2011

    Ok, I teach 6th grade, and my students are slowly adjusting from elementary school. I have just started making MAJOR progress with getting my kids to raise their hands and wait for me to come to them when they have questions. Whew. But now, I constantly have hands waving in the air. A few days ago, I began writing directions and expectations on a poster, so many questions I can now answer by pointing to the poster or asking, "What would you do if I wasn't here to ask?"

    Despite all of these efforts, which have improved things, I still feel like I'm being run ragged answering questions in some of my classes. I'm not getting enough time to spend on any one student. I've considered employing the Ask 3 Before Me rule, but I'm worried some of my more talkative classes will find this as an excuse to get chatty with their neighbors. Any suggestions or advice?
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Sep 4, 2011

    I use this rule in some of my needier classes, except I call it "C3B4ME". I haven't noticed that it makes them chattier.

    Another thing I do is position myself in one spot and tell kids that if they have questions they have to come to me. Kids don't seem to want to get up and come to me unless it's something that's really stumping them.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 4, 2011

    I know that part of it is a function of age-- I teach high school.

    But I don't want them asking 3 other kids before they ask me.

    I'm the one in the class who is there to teach. If you're at all confused, please ask me. The odds are overwhelming that I'm the one who will have the correct explanation, or the one most likely to make sense to you.

    Admittedly, there ARE times when I say "OK, every one just put your pens down and listen to me." Then I go back to the beginning and clear the air.
     
  5. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Sep 4, 2011

    Could you use it, but make it clear that it is only for questions about the directions, etc., and that any questions about content or the problems themselves should come directly to you?
     
  6. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    Oh, if it's a question about content, I definitely want them asking me! The thing is, I have a few classes in which students would literally follow me around the room until I addressed their questions! Getting them to raise their hands has been a HUGE achievement for me! I think my real issue is a class size thing...my biggest class is 27 kids. I know a lot of us are dealing with larger classes. I guess what I need is a better system so that I am still able to work with individual students and not constantly bouncing around the room! I feel like my kids are getting short-changed because there are so many of them :(
     
  7. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Sep 4, 2011

    For any independent work, I have the "Level 1 Desk Neighbor" rule. That means they can whisper to ask a question about the assignment to anyone sitting within one desk of the student's desk. I even get specific enough to explain that the conversation must be less than one minute. I have a "no-question" time of 5 minutes before they can ask anybody. They do pretty good with it. I have 7th graders.
     
  8. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    Sep 4, 2011

    I was feeling that way at the beginning of the school year, my first time teaching middle school age.

    My kids raised their hands with questions before I even finished the directions. I've started telling them to hold their questions until I've finished, which has helped a lot. They get irritated, but 95% of the time whatever I was trying to say answers whatever question they had to begin with.

    I also tried a no-question timer (compliments of someone on A to Z, can't remember who), but it REALLY worked. I gave instructions, answered questions, and then set the time for 10 minutes of no-question working. You'd be amazed at what they'll figure out on their own without you being readily available.

    Also, for my kids who just like to ask off-topic things, I will ask if it's 1. important, and 2. relevant before I'll let them ask. Most of the time it's not either, so they don't ask.
     
  9. crunchytxmama

    crunchytxmama Companion

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    Sep 4, 2011

    I teach third grade, and I have students that just straight copy off of their friends when I've tried to do this.

    I have a cup signal system. When the students are doing work, and they are stuck, they may put their red cup on their desk and KEEP WORKING. I usually wait a bit before I respond. They have to be very well trained on how to use them (better than I trained mine, ha!), because they will flop the cup up there very noisily to get your attention, or tap the top of it, or pick it up and drop it repeatedly until I attend to them.
     
  10. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    Sep 4, 2011

    Oooooh I like the no questions timer!!! I think I'll introduce that this week....
     
  11. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Sep 5, 2011

    I think that it is amazing that kids are asking questions. If you teach a core subject where kids need to master certain concepts, I say CONGRATULATIONS for making your classroom a safe place where kids feel, ok, with asking questions. If I have kids that are asking questions just to ask them... I tell them this.... I WANT you to TRY the problem and THEN raise your hand. I will look over your work and see if you made any mistakes. This usually helps to curb the number of questioners that question for the heck of it. I also always say their questions loud enough for the entire classroom to hear and say, if you are having this same issue, listen up. I am going to explain it again now. Please do not ask the same questions over and over. That also seems to help. Good luck!
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 5, 2011

    OK, so you've made progress-- instead of following you around the room they're raising hands. Wonderful. Now refine it. Perhaps, after each set of directions, ask them to stop and write down what you've said as a first step. Or let them know that after each set of directions you're going to call on someone and ask him or her to explain those directions. Then start doing it as a regular routine.

    And our classes are routinely in the high 30's, with the occasional class of 41 or 42.

    I know that my own comfort level wouldn't be with encouraging anyone who is confused to ask 3 other kids anything. I'm very structured; if they're supposed to be working, I don't want that buzz of half the kids asking each other questions. If there's going to be anyone explaining the process, I want it to be ME, even if I have to repeat myself.

    Hang in there... it will get easier for you and for them.
     
  13. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Sep 5, 2011

    You might want to do more modeling during your lessons. Have kids come up and demonstrate how they are working the problems before turning them loose to work on an assignment. Take your time in teaching new material, and perhaps watch other teachers on your team to see how they are delivering information and how they are handling the raising of the hands brigade that seems to follow each lesson.

    As an administrator doing a walk through... my question would be to you, "Why are there so many lingering questions after your have done your lesson? What can you do to improve your instruction to help those students before they get to the independent phase of working?"

    Since I have a different lens that I use on occasion, it is something that I often think about when helping new teachers or nearly new teachers.
     

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