5 Quick Tips – Getting Students to Follow Directions – Peas in a Pod Lessons

Are you struggling with getting your elementary students to follow directions? You’re not alone! It’s a common classroom management issue that many teachers face. But, with these five quick and easy tricks, you can get your class back on track and following directions the first time.

1. Getting Students to Follow Directions – Post the Steps

Posting simple reminder cards with the steps students will be taking is a great way to help visual learners understand and follow directions. After posting the cards, jot down any additional reminders off to the side of each step. This simplifies the steps and offers a visual reference for students, so if anyone has trouble remembering what to do, they know exactly where to look.

2. When I Say “Go”

When I give directions, I insert the magic phrase When I say ‘Go.’ Every. Single. Time.

Children often hear just one part of a series of directions (usually the part they want to hear the most) and forget the rest. As we’re talking through the steps, they’re thinking about that one part and are eager to get started. When kids are excited they switch into ACTION mode when we still want them in LISTENING mode.

Help students stay in listening mode longer by including the phrase “When I say ‘Go.’ This means that no one is moving or starting their work until the magic word is said.

In just a moment, I’ll send you off to get started on ____________. When I say ‘Go’ I want you to get your supplies, go to your spot, and get started quietly.

Then, I use the visual timer below. It’s large, magnets to my whiteboard, & doesn’t require batteries. But, most importantly, it easily shows the students how much time they have left to complete a task.

3. Repeat to a Partner

Having students repeat the steps to a partner is a powerful way to improve the chances of everyone knowing and following directions. Before moving into action mode, have students turn to a partner and explain what they are about to do. For example, “In just a moment, we’ll get started. But let’s see who remembers what we’re going to do. Turn to your partner and tell them the four steps.”

4. Mirror Modeling

Have students copy what you are doing, acting out each part like little mimes. When you add in movement, students can’t just zone out! You can easily see who is paying attention and who is missing the directions.

5. Slowly Releasing Responsibility

A Surefire Way to Ensure Classroom Success – With this approach, you slow down the transition from listening to action. It ensures that everyone knows exactly what to do.

      Here’s how it works: after giving directions, ask for a few volunteers to go first and demonstrate what will happen next. This could be as simple as modeling how to walk quietly to their first spot during math stations. As the models begin, ask students to point out what they notice. This allows the rest of the class to see what is expected of them before they start the activity.

      Using this strategy, you’ll be able to get the entire class started on their next activity without a single off-task student or missed step. And the best part? You can combine this approach with other strategies for even greater success!

      Get creative and combine the strategies that work best for you and your students. With a little bit of trial and error, you’ll have a classroom full of students who know exactly what to do and when to do it. It’s better to spend a few extra minutes going over directions than wasting tons of precious time trying to calm the chaos!

      You might also like “Sanity Saving Behavior Management Tips for Teachers.”

      Happy Teaching!

      ~ Melissa

      I hope you find these suggestions helpful! Click here to follow Peas in a Pod on Tpt for more classroom tips & freebies.

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