Helping Students Follow Directions
Lesson Objective: Focus on a set of directions
All Grades / All Subjects / Focus

Thought starters

  1. How do simple actions like highlighting and numbering help students focus?
  2. Why does Mr. Colquitt repeat the directions?
  3. How does Mr. Colquitt check for understanding?
I like how the teacher asked the student to repeat the directions after he had read the directions to the class and after he instructed them on what to highlight. There was clear communication between the teacher and students. Randomly calling on students to repeat directions keeps the students interested in the activity.
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I would have created an acronym for the simple steps in the first part of the assignment, and would have posted it on an over-head projector, or on a large piece of easel paper and would have used the visual to support a hook. The hook would have assisted the students in creating value for following directions. I would also have created a way for students to make sure each step was complete and their best work was being done.
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Will Mr. Colquitt continue this ritual throughout the year, or does he transition to having students practice highlighting and numbering with support and reinforcement inside of the school year?

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I like this procedure because following directions can often be a source of frustration. I think what makes this example so effective are the key elements of repeating the details, having the students "touch" the text in some way, and having a student repeat the directions. I like to model the task a bit too. 

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Good video!  It was a good reminder of how important it is to help kids break down a set of directions.  Directions can be overwhelming for students, and having them break it down into steps, allows them to see exactly what they're supposed to do.

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  • Helping Students Follow Directions

    Speaker 1: Everyone should be in this activity packet. We're going to look under the section that's

    Helping Students Follow Directions

    Speaker 1: Everyone should be in this activity packet. We're going to look under the section that's titled Connecting Our Ideas. Please have your highlighters ready, I'm about to provide explicit directions for this activity. You will view a visual in silence for 30 seconds, analyze the visual in pairs using the analysis prompts, and then share out as a class. Now I will repeat the directions and I will let you know what to highlight and what to number. The directions say you will view a visual in silence for 30 seconds. Please highlight that and then place a one above what you highlighted. Persephone, what am I expecting you to do with this activity?
    Persephone: We're going to view it for 30 seconds and then we're going to analyze the visual in pairs with the analysis prompts and then we're going to share it out as a class.
    Speaker 1: Thank you. What questions do we have about this activity? Yeah.

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School Details

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School
101 N St NW
Washington DC 20001


Marquis Colquitt



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