The Student Teacher Strategy is a simple management tool you can use to cut down on interruptions to your teaching time, build self-confidence in your students, and foster a community of problem solvers inside your room.
It can sometimes feel like we are constantly being interrupted by our students with questions or that there are too many students who need some help and not enough time to reach them all. After teaching a lesson or completing an assignment, pick a few (1-3) students to become the “Student Teacher” or “Expert”. These are students that you know understand the task and can correctly help their classmates. They are students that can be trusted to help walk other students through a process without just giving them the answers.
I’ve also created some free printables that make easy work of implementing The Student Teacher Strategy. We can email them to you, or you can download them from the ‘Files’ section of our Create-abilities Teacher Community Facebook Group. If you haven’t joined the group yet, it’s a great way to stay up-to-speed on everything Create-abilities, including product announcements, sales, freebies, live broadcasts, giveaways, and more!
How To Use the Student Teacher Strategy in Your Room:
1. Talk with all of your students about what it means to be a Student Teacher or Expert. Talk about how this is an important job in your classroom. Not only does it free you up to work with students individually or in small groups, it also gives your students multiple avenues to find help. Some students might even find it less intimidating to ask a peer for help instead of the teacher. Talk with them about how a Student Teacher is someone who helps their peer find the answer and work through the problem, without telling them the answers. You could even have them practice role playing being a Student Teacher by having them teach a simple concept to a partner.
2. Show them the tags or labels that they will be wearing. Show them wear to find them and where to put them away when the activity is over. Having them in an easily-accessible place will help make this more student-led, as the students can grab them and put them away independently.
3. After a lesson or activity, pick 1-3 students to become the Student Teachers. Again, these are students you can trust, are patient, and understand the topic completely. Try to rotate through students on varying topics so that every student gets to be the expert on something.
Activities Where a Student Teacher Could Be Useful:
1. Working on math assignment.
2. Entering usernames/passwords on the computer.
3. During your guided reading groups (or other group time where you can’t be interrupted.)
4. Any assignment or activity where students need extra help.
BONUS IDEA: ASK 3 BEFORE ME
Another way to cut down on questions is to implement the Ask 3 Before Me strategy. This simple strategy has students ask 3 other (trustworthy) sources their question first before them come ask you.
If a student is working on a task and has a question come up, they quietly find 3 of their peers to ask first. This doesn’t mean they shout it across the room, it means they try to find someone by them first or they can walk quietly to someone around the room. If they get their question answered by the first person, great! If they still didn’t get it answered, they can ask two more people. If all three people cannot answer the question, the student can then come and ask you. This REALLY cuts down on interruptions or you having to repeat yourself.
You can use a Light Box like the one I used above, or grab this FREE sign to post in your room as a reminder to your students. If you use a light box, you can easily switch it on and off to alert you students when it’s time to use this strategy.
(Find the Light Box here and the colored tiles here.)
This strategy is so easy to implement and will make a big difference in your classroom. Not only does it help cut down on your mental load, it builds confidence in the students you pick to become the Student Teacher. It also fosters a sense of community inside your classroom as your students know they can turn to their peers, as well as their teacher, for help.
PEACE, LOVE, AND STICKY NOTES