Student Independence


Do what only you can do.

My new motto this year is (I seem to have a lot of these), “Don’t do anything for the students that they can do themselves.”  This ties is nicely with a statement by preacher Andy Stanley, in which he said, “Only do whatever it is that only you can do.”  He didn’t mean shirk all responsibility, but to delegate where you can, so you can focus on the areas in which you are gifted and called to make the greatest difference.  With these things in mind, I brainstormed this list of things my fourth grade students can do themselves.  Allowing the students more independence in running the classroom allows them to grow as responsible students and you more time to “do what only you can do”–teach!  (The picture will link you to the 3 min. video of Andy speaking about this point.)

So, in no particular order…

What Students can do Themselves

1. Take attendance and tally lunch choices.

2. Begin AM work.

3. Complete tasks and begin a new one.

4. Determine who has turned in which papers (students check off their name or move a clothespin).

5. Line up

6. Transition to carpet

7. Connect my laptop to the LCD. Set up classroom computers (pull up program or my blog to begin working on skills).

8. Practice Shurley English using the ActivBoard (while I assist other students in small group).

9. Change jobs each week.  Manage jobs (who is/isn’t doing their job).

10. Assign points to on task student groups.

11. Organize book shelves by genre, level, series, or topic. (Which got me thinking, why not invite some former students into the classroom to help me set up my room at the beginning of the year?  They would love it, and so would I!)

12. Move from lunch to transitional activities to PM classes.

13. Write in agendas. “Today I learned… HW… Positive moment for me…  Something I should work on…”

14. Rotate through centers during Reading and Writing blocks (student will set timer, transition quickly).

15. Return checked out classroom books and literacy bags (make a student’s job to peer check and use a CueCat–I NEED one of these!).

16. Find new educational game sites to add to my (our) blog!

17. Write newsletters and call out messages with the most important and current class information.

18. Grade (Self and Peers): Spelling Tests, Vocabulary Quizzes, Word Work, Reading Journals

19. Peer Revision (provide with revision form “1 Glow, 2 Grows” and labels with specific feedback)

20. Make bulletin boards of student work and create specific student feedback (high level thinking!).

Now, with the students managing themselves, I can get to the business of TEACHING!  🙂

What do your students do independently?  How do they take the lead in their own learning and running of their classroom?  I can’t wait to hear your tips and tricks for student independence!


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