Question Detail

Help Signal

Feb 21, 2013 10:19am

Does anyone have a signal that students utilize to signal the need for teacher assistance? This could be a silent signal, visual, etc.

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  • Feb 21, 2013 6:53pm

    A co-teacher gives students a red-card/green-card. When a student is working effectively by herself, she leaves the green side up. If she is stuck, she turns it to the red side, sometimes reading a book while she waits. It's a great strategy, because the teacher can see quickly who needs assistance.

    • Feb 22, 2013 7:12am

      Along those same clever lines, one high school teacher I know uses three large plastic cups--red, yellow and green--stacked on each student's work table. It's a little more visible than cards from across the room.

      • Feb 24, 2013 8:37am

        For little ones, I made 2X2 HELP signs attached to popsicle sticks. They keep it in their pencil box.

        • Feb 26, 2013 8:27am

          Elementary teachers can use something like the flag on a mailbox for a student to signal help needed. History teachers can have students create a flag that can be upside down when a student is in "distress" (needs help to continue). Another idea is to use a plastic or styrofoam cup turned upside down. put a slit across the bottom of the cup which can then hold an index card inserted. The teacher can see how things are going in a group based on what color card is showing in the cup.

          • Mar 3, 2013 6:08pm

            I think all of these ideas are great. When my students are working, they raise their hand while they're working. This signals that they have a non-urgent need for support, but the expectation is that they work on, focusing on a part of the assignment they do understand.

            I've also had kids write their name on the white board to signal they need help during independent practice. Both ideas are pretty basic, but super easy and sustainable!

            • Mar 10, 2013 10:09am

              I teach middle years kids and I utilize the "3 then me" idea, to build independence and critical thinking. If a student is uncertain they should re-read the question and any examples first, then check your notes or text, then ask an elbow buddy, and if you are still stuck after those three things...raise your hand and I will come see you.