Tag Archives: strategy for off task student

A Pedometer for a Roaming Student


I once had a student.  Let’s call him Toby.  Toby was the classroom roamer explorer.  He would get up in the middle of a 5 minute mini-lesson and begin “exploring” the room.  He was rarely aware that he was off task until I called him back to the carpet–he was just taking a walk!  I needed a way to make him aware and put him in control of his adventuring feet.

I tried everything, until one day I walked by the pedometers while doing some classroom shopping at the Dollar Store and half-seriously thought, “I bet Toby could really burn out one of those things!”  And the thought came to me, “What if I challenged him to get the FEWEST steps possible?”

It.  Totally.  Worked.  Man, I love the Dollar Store!

$2.12 plus these 4 sentences made all the difference: “Toby, here are 2 pedometers.  They keep track of how many steps you take each day.  You get to wear one, and you can choose a friend to challenge with the other one.  The person with the FEWEST steps at the end of the day WINS.”  I didn’t even attach a tangible award to it, just the pride of being the winner.  Toby’s roaming went almost to nonexistent in a DAY.  Each day, he chose a new friend to challenge.  Sometimes he even won.  The best part?  After a couple weeks, his roaming was drastically reduced, even when he forgot to put on the pedometer! 

Do you have an explorer?  Try this out and let me know how it goes!  I hope it’s just as successful for you!