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Altsports Altsports is offline
 
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Listening and following directions
Old 12-13-2011, 06:09 PM
 
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I'm looking for advice.......my kids have the hardest time listening and following directions. Today was the last straw, I had 3-4 kids ask directions about our assignment. Then I had another 2-3 students that asked THE SAME exact question!! Does anyone have advice on lessons / activities I can do to increase this skill? I'm beyond frustrated.


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partner
Old 12-13-2011, 06:16 PM
 
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I break my instructions down and have them TELL the directions to their partner. So they hear them from me. They tell them to a partner. They hear them from a partner.

Then I still get at least three who ask me:
What do we do when we're done?
Where do we put it?
Do we turn it in?
Should I put my name on it?
Do we have to do the mixed review?


And so on. It takes the patience of a saint to teach third grade. Good luck to you!! And to me!!
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Students today
Old 12-13-2011, 06:46 PM
 
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are very visual. I try to write some information on the board or show a document with instructions from the document camera when possible.

I also try to do listening activities with them. One game is called Sparkle. It is a spelling game, but also helps with listening skills. The students stand in a line facing the teacher. The teacher says a spelling word. Then the students spell the word by having each student in line say only one letter. If they do not listen to the other students and say the wrong letter, they are out. After a student says the last letter of a word, the next student says., "Sparkle". Then the next student is out. I allow them to say, "bummer". This gives the game an element of chance, so it is not all about skill and listening. No repeats are allowed!
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Visual
Old 12-13-2011, 08:05 PM
 
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I agree with 1956BD. Third graders are very visual. You can't just say the directions. You also have to make a list of what to do so they can see it. This list can be brief.

I also keep a running list of students who often ask questions that have already been answered. Then I make sure this is discussed at conferences and reflected on their report card. I might write a comment like " ________ has difficulty following multi-step directions. An example of this is that when I give directions for a math assignment, ________ is only able to follow the first direction but not the other three. He/She needs to ask his/her partner or me what to do next."

I love 1956bd's idea of repeating the directions to a partner, and also hearing them from a partner.

I also end my oral and written directions with the words, "Does anyone have any questions?" Then when a student asks a question and I know I have already given directions to answer this question, I answer, "Sorry, but I already gave you this info. You will need to find out the answer to your question by asking your partner or looking around the room to see what your classmates are doing." This seems to make students responsible for listening the next time.

I have found that the more you play into answering questions for which you have already given directions, the more your students will take advantage of this. By letting them know you won't be doing it any more, they will focus when directions are given.
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Old 12-14-2011, 08:06 AM
 
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I agree with ConnieWI... I refuse to answer a question I know I already answered or that was specifically in the directions I gave. When I give directions, I immediately ask questions that I know they will ask. When you finish X, what will you do?" "Where does your work go when you're done?" I have a poster in the room that says exactly what they are allowed to do when they finish all of their work, and if they come up and tell me they're finished, I look at the poster and then back at them until they catch on what they should do.

I made a point of marking on their report cards those students who need to work more independently, which I considered checking in with me EVERY time they finished something, or always asking me what to do. When I spoke to the parents about it during conferences, they agreed that the kids do it at home, too.

Generally speaking, when a student asks me a question that they should already know the answer to, I simply say "I'm not going to answer that because you should have been listening." Then a friend usually steps in and helps that child out.


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I do too
Old 12-14-2011, 03:02 PM
 
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I also don't enable this either. My response is always the same, "I've already given that information in the instructions." Like the pp said, another student will help out or the student will look around to see what the majority are doing.

It still makes me crazy though. And I do all of the suggestions above. There's just no way to stop 100% of this.
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Old 12-14-2011, 03:51 PM
 
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I have had the same problem in my class and I started, "Ask three before me!" If they are stuck on anything they can ask three different students before they can come to me then I will help them. This has encouraged student conversation about the assignment and given me the time to help the students who really are struggling.
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:41 PM
 
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I had a training in the CHAMPS system. For each activity you do you have the acronym on the board and what is expected. It was a huge help to me. here is the link http://staff.fcps.net/jcduncan/Champs%20System.htm
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Same!
Old 12-19-2011, 11:09 AM
 
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I am a first year teacher and my biggest frustration is the lack of listeners. I will THOROUGHLY explain the directions or a problem, write it on the board, even do an example. I still will have some of my best students raise their hand to say "miss I don't understand." I am teaching abroad so I thought this might be a country thing but I am glad to see this problem plagues all third graders worldwide!
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