This is a classroom management strategy that I have been using for the past month or so, and I think it will work really well in my new PBL home. Each child gets a stack of three cups (white, yellow, and red) for their work area. If all is well, they leave the white cup on top. If they are starting to get confused or have a non-urgent question the student puts the yellow cup on top. If they are totally lost and need my help, they move the red cup to the top.
Reasons I love this:
- The kids know that they should keep working at all times and if they are hopelessly lost, they should move onto something that they are comfortable with. This expectation is really helping the kids stay focused and productive even when they get stuck in one area.
- They know that I am working around the room and that I will get to them ASAP.
- It also allows kids to struggle with a problem a little longer. I love it when I see a student change a red cup to a yellow.
- I have not done this yet, but students that finish early could work with students indicating they need a little bit of help.
- I had a real problem with students mobbing me with questions and interrupting my time working with other students. This has really stopped that. Now I know that if a student comes up to me it is an emergency.
I wish I could remember where I collected this idea from, possibly it was from The First Days of School. I think this will work well in a PBL setting, but I am wondering if there are any other ideas out there that could also work.