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What do you do for kids with a 1 minute attention span that miss every direction?

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I teach high school, though have the same problem. I have the student tell me the directions in their own words. (They may use only 5 of the same words I used) At first I get the "I don't know" response, but will make them "phone a friend" (I have a stressball fake phone that I hand them) to get the answer. If the friend does not know, then that person phones someone else until they find someone who knows. The last step is going back through the line of "I don't know" responses backward, having each student repeat what the previous person said. Warning: this WILL take a crazy amount of time the first couple of times, but the kids learn quickly that they cannot get off the hook as easily as "I don't know". The second and third times go quicker because the kids will know that they are still responsible for the directions after their first response. They also will start to call out anyone who uses too many of my words.


I do a visual checklist with one of my kids! I have it laminated so he can use a dry erase marker and he’ll check things off as he goes. I have different ones for our class routines (reading workshop, writing workshop) and I also put visuals with my directions on the board for things like cut/paste worksheets. I try to make everything as predictable as possible (which can be hard depending on the day). My group is not very independent so I struggle with this too!


What grade are they in? I usually repeat the directions multiple time. Write them on the board. Have them ask a neighbor...I teach 5th though...that might not work as well with younger kids.


Yeah, so writing the directions on the board probably won’t help as much 😊

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