September 24, 2013

Teacher TIp Tuesday: Listening Passes

You know how you give your students hall passes at the beginning of each term for them to use for locker/bathroom breaks at their discretion? Today's Teacher Tip is an extension of this suggested by another fabulous teaching assistant on my team.

Listening Passes

We've all been there. After painstakingly writing down the directions, reading them aloud and discussing any questions with the class, you release your students to start their work. Inevitably, though, hands will shoot into the air full of questions... related to things you just answered.

(For the record, I'm not talking about students with IEPs here, as repeating directions is a common accommodation for them. I'm talking about students who are too busy socializing, daydreaming, doodling, working ahead, etc. to bother paying attention to my instruction. I know I'm not the only teacher who has students like this.... right?!)

I don't know about you, but I find it extremely annoying whenever my students confirm for me that they are plain ol' ignoring the sound of my voice. I swear I try my best not to sound like that teacher from the Peanuts cartoon... but sometimes they still don't listen!

So, I propose that at the beginning of each term, we hand out Listening Passes to our students, and every time they ask a question that has already been addressed, they must submit a pass (or... if they're in my classroom, they get a punch on their punch card). 

But wait... we're not done yet.

I would make this a group activity. Each student has his/her own passes, but at the end of each term, I would have the entire group submit their leftover passes for extra credit/some other reward. Not only would this encourage students to listen more carefully, but it also encourages the "Ask 3 Then Me!" directive we all love so much.

If you get a chance to implement this in your classroom, I would love to hear how it works. Since I don't have that kind of control this year, I can only love this tip in theory for now. :)

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