Thumbs Up, I Get This!
I make sure that my students have heard the directions I've given using this simple but effective check for understanding strategy. Having students repeat directions or an expectation provides them with an opportunity to re-state or clarify their understanding. For example, if a student responds incorrectly, I don't just move on to another student all the time. I ask the same question in a different way so that my student who initially responded incorrectly, unclearly, or incompletely has another opportunity to answer with more clarity. Thumbs Up, I Get This! is another way to hold students accountable during their independent time.
Saved by the Bell is a throwback to the old sitcom of my days. During guided reading I use a bell as a means for non-verbal student management, particularly with noise level. One ring of the bell indicates a warning to all that the room is getting loud. Two bells indicates that individuals who I spot are still not keeping their noise level down will run the risk of changing a behavior star. The expectations were set as a class and therefore students know they will be held accountable.
Struggling readers often struggle for various reasons. These can include a lack of understanding of phonics skills or not knowing the grade level sight words. This strategy shows a student undergoing a round of sight word practice by having him read a word on a card or post-it. This strategy allows the student to self assess by sorting words that he can read or can't read. By providing a visual of how many he knows versus how many he doesn't know allow him to feel successful, but at the same time understand that before his "I Can Read" pile grows larger, he will need to study all the difficult words he didn't know.
EEKK Think Pair Share is a fun variation on a traditional Think, Pair, Share that is useful for younger students. As an indicator to my students that they must engage in discussion with one another, I will say "Go EEKK," which stands for "elbow, elbow, knee, knee." Students recite the simple chant, “Elbow, elbow, knee, knee” and face each other knee-to-knee in the process to discuss whatever topic I have chosen. The EEKK strategy gives my students a structured way for engaging in collaborative, on-topic academic discourse.