Blog Hoppin' · · Question Box · student numbers

The Best Laid Plans

Friends.  I’m shaking my head at myself.  On Monday, when I was home getting myself organized I really thought to myself “Heck yes!  I am going to blog EVERY day this week as part of this Bloghoppin’ linky party”.  Spoiler alert:  I failed.  😦  But, I ended up being surprisingly busy outside of school this week and I didn’t realize that was happening ahead of time.  Like, Wednesday one of my super besties was last minute in town for just one night and I couldn’t really say “No, I can’t meet you for drinks tonight because I have to blog”.  I mean, I guess I could have done that, but I just never see that Libb and I really wanted to hang out with her.  So I’m sorry that I was a minor fail, but I’m going to link back up today, get back on the wagon, and share some new(ish) ideas.

This is 100% a recycled ideas, but it’s one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard of.  Give your children numbers.  I’m going to say it again because it’s so awesome:  give your children numbers.

I like this idea for several reasons.  1) Everyone only has one number, so if even kids have the same name when you call numbers it eliminates confusion.  2)  My particular school has a lot of transience, so it makes it easy to re-use materials if one kids leaves and another comes in.  It’s hard to reuse a folder or notebook labeled “David”, but if your pencils and folders say “18” then it’s easier to recycle that for students.  3)  It gives students a space in line and eliminates all those busting/cutting arguments.  (I suppose this isn’t necessarily inherent in assigning numbers, but I always tell my students to line up in “line order”, which means that they line up numerically.)  I really cannot emphasize enough how positively I feel about giving children numbers in a classroom.

This is my other “new idea” that probably also qualifies as a helpful hint.  I started this last year, and to be perfectly honest with you, it was more successful last year than this year, but I think that’s because my loves this year are much more DEpendent and much needier than my group from last year.  In any case, I’m going to stick with this idea because I know it will ultimately pay off for me.  And here it is:  The Question Box.  Say, whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?  The Question Box is a large square that I tape off on the floor near my table using blue painter’s tape and I label it “Question Box”, and make sure to draw question marks on it.  The way the Question Box works is that if you have a question during any type of work station time and you ask your group members and they don’t know you come to the question box.  The rules of the question box are that there can only be one kid in the box at a time, and that you  have to wait quietly in the box until I can pause my teaching to help you.  It works really well once you teach it…or at least it has for me.  It’s really nice because it gives kids a way to get your attention quietly without distracting themselves and other kids.  Another really nice fringe benefit of the Question Box is that you can leave kids in there indefinitely.  What I mean by that is that if you have kids who come to the box all the time for silly or unnecessary reasons (or non-question reasons) you can make them stand in the box longer, and sometimes they will get bored and leave.  Last year I had one sweetheart who came to the Question Box every. single. day.  So I started making her wait longer than I would make other kids wait, which was also really helpful for me because I knew that if she waited it out that she really did need me.  It was a nice silent signal.  Honestly, it takes about 30 seconds to tape down a Question Box and it saves so much time.  I don’t have a picture of my Question Box because I’m a terrible blogger and I always forget about pictures.

That’s about it for me, friends.  Tomorrow is Smithsonian Teachers’ Night (yessssssssssssssssssssss), so I hope to be back tomorrow with some more treats, but I can make no promises.
Happy Friday!


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