Here is another question to ask your students. It’s quick and powerful.
Here’s the question: “What do you need to get started?”
Once you try this question, you’ll use it every day. I still use it when I go into classrooms to model lessons, and even when I’m training teachers.
How many times have you delivered some top notch instruction? You think you were crystal clear. You assign the independent practice. Your students start to work…..most of them.
What about the ones who don’t? What about the ones who never seem to get started? I used to nag them and ask really ineffective questions like:
Why aren’t you working?
When are you going to get started?
You need to get started.
Do you need help?
These questions are problematic in that they are perceived as threatening or condescending. They do not motivate kids to get started. So what works?
Just walk up to them and ask, “What do you need to get started?” This magic question implies that you expect them to get started, and you have confidence in them that they will get started. It is respectful, yet holds them accountable for taking part in their own learning.
When you ask this question, one of two things happens.
A) They say, “Nothing,” and they immediately move to action.
B) They say, “I need a pencil.” Or, “I need paper.” They tell you what they need and then they pull it out or go get it and get started.
Yay! So simple. No conflict. Don’t you love simple?
Use this question today and watch what happens!