How to Encourage Students to Help in the Classroom Using Methods That Are Fair for Everyone?
Windowofworld.com – How to Encourage Students to Help in the Classroom Using Methods That Are Fair for Everyone? More than one person wants to hand out papers, take messages to work, etc. How do you select students to help you in a class that is fair to everyone? Here is a technique I created and first used when I replaced him as the resource teacher. This technique can be used throughout the day, continuing to learn to flow and limiting “bad feelings” for those not initially selected.
Before students arrive, look at your attendance checklist for the total number of students in the class. Write the number of students on the board in short lines to save space. For example, if there are twelve (12) students in the class, write the twelve numbers in 3 rows 4. Regardless of the total size of your class, divide the numbers evenly into rows so they don’t fill the entire board.
After you have written your number on the board, first select one of the numbers. Write under the group of numbers near the ledge of the board in a smaller size. Then, cover the number with a piece of paper, an eraser, a box of chalk or something that won’t get much attention.
When students arrive, they will see the numbers on the board. You’ll get questions like, “What’s that about?” “Why are there numbers on the blackboard?” Praise them for being so observant. Tell them that you will explain why the numbers are on the board after the morning assignment. If you are substituting for a resource teacher (arts, computers, etc.), explain the number after introduction and attendance. If students are not present, count the total in class and erase the extra numbers on the board as they do their morning activities.
You can choose who you want to start with (eg first girl, row 1, last class, etc.). It doesn’t make any difference where you start, as long as everyone gets a chance to pick a number. To explain how numbers will be used, say something like the following:
1. “One by one, each student will choose a number.”
2. “If you pick a number, I’ll cross it out so no one will repeat the number.”
3. “Please remember your number.”
As students pick a number and you cross it out, listen to the student who gives you the number you picked earlier. When you hear the number, stop and say something like, “Just a reminder, please everyone remember your number.” Make a statement when the previously selected number is mentioned, giving you the opportunity to remember the student’s face for later. Tell students that it is okay to write down their number if it will help them remember.
After everyone chooses a number, open the hidden number that has been previously selected. Suppose you chose number 8. You would say, “Who has number 8? If you have number 8, please stand up.” When the person is standing, assign the task you want him to do. For example, when I first came up with this idea as a substitute for an art resource teacher, I would say, “You are responsible for handing out the crayons / paintbrushes and collecting them at the end of class.”
When you assign work, expect to hear, “Oh-Oh. I want to do that!” At this point, let students know that there are other opportunities to lead and serve, so please remember your number. Also tell students that if you call their number and nobody responds, you should call another number. This puts responsibility back into the hands of the students. It also gives them a sense of hope throughout the day that they can get a chance to lead.
As time goes by, you will select students for things like line leaders, couriers, clerks, etc. You’ll say something like, “Number 2, please collect the papers.” Again, it is up to students to remember their number. You can also cross out, or erase numbers as you use them throughout the day. This leadership selection method is fair because students pick their numbers, you don’t assign them. Therefore, you cannot vote for previous students, show favoritism, etc.
Variation of Activities:
This method can also be used to select teams and small groups. Instead of picking 1 number first, first select 3-5 numbers depending on the size of the group.
I’ve had success using this variation for spelling bees, math teams, and more. I have also noticed that during long-term assignments, students will learn this method and use it during breaks or group time.