Teaching is about more than state standards and assessments. It is about genuinely preparing students for life. For me, a huge focus is on how I help my students become more independent. While learning to read and write is essential, it is also imperative students have the confidence to do things for themselves. Therefore, I embed strategies into every element of my classroom! By doing this, students are working on content while focusing on self-reliance. However, school is about learning, so I am always there if they need me!
Strategies to Help Students Become More Independent
Honestly, every student is different in his or her needs. For instance, some need help with basic organization while others need additional help with academics. Therefore, I incorporate several strategies in how I help my students become more independent.
Easy Access to Extra Materials Students Become More Independent
I keep a paper organizer in the front of my classroom. It holds a ton of different materials! Specifically, the writing section includes graphic organizers, ideas for writing, and a checklist. For reading, I keep a Daily 5 choice board. For math, I always keep extra paper, such as boxes to correctly set up a math problem. Additionally, I have a spot to hold all of the extras we have used because they always come in handy throughout the year.
In my classroom, I have a very organized supply area. It holds all of the supplies students need. I even include labels with words and pictures on every box to help students find items by themselves. Ultimately, this allows students to pick out what they need while teaching responsibility with cleaning up.
Learning how to sharpen a pencil correctly can be challenging. Also, it may take time as students keep pulling the pencil out before it is ready. Therefore, I have a pencil sharpener that lights up blue when the pencil is ready.
When focusing on how I help my students become more independent, turning in work is critical. Therefore, I have homework bins for different assignments, such as reading logs and signed tests. Additionally, I have a visual reminder posted for students to double-check their name is on all papers.
Sticker Charts To Help My Students Become More Independent
My students love sticker charts! To encourage independence, I am not the one to put the stickers on. Instead, my students are in charge of placing their stickers whenever I give them permission. There are different charts based upon goals, such as raising hands and being kind. This is a great way to help them be independent. I also use emotional check in’s in my classroom, read more here.
Bathroom Sign Out Sheet
Students know when they need to use the restroom. Thus, they can sign out when they need to. However, they only have three spots by their name. Therefore, they need to make good choices about when they go.
I have a huge personal library in my classroom. How I help my students become more independent involves allowing them to sign out their books. To do this, I number and label each bin. Then, I place this number on the back of each book. Hence, students can select a book and then put it back in the correct spot when finished.
Attendance and Lunch Count
Students are responsible for checking in and selecting their lunch each morning. Upon entering the classroom, they need to slide their name into the correct category.
I have labels everywhere and on everything! There are also pictures on the labels to help students identify where everything goes. This includes everything from headphones to needed materials.
When learning to be independent, it is crucial to have the needed supplies. Therefore, I have sharp and dull pencil areas. This helps students know if the pencil is ready-to-go or needs sharpening.
Every student has a number. The numbers are on everything!
Whether looking for their supply box or cubby location, numbers play a crucial role in gaining independence.
Visual Routine to Help My Students Become More Independent
Students need to know the order of the day. Additionally, this helps reduce questions about when a specific aspect occurs. Instead, students can look at the routine charts by themselves. There are visual outlines for the morning routine, schedule, and morning work with pictures for each step.
When focusing on how I help my students become more independent, I use as many strategies as possible. Every student is different, but it is crucial to gain the confidence to do things alone. Therefore, I incorporate as many aspects as possible to help students work on being independent!
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