Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hallelujah!!! Teacher Help Cards!

For years I have been using question cards.  Mine were just pink with a question mark on it.  My students could borrow one anytime that they wanted and place it on their desk.
The problem with these is that:
1.  Some kids would use them during writing.
2.  Some kids used them for ALL other types of things.
Pretty much they were used WAY too broadly.
Other problems that I have (regardless of signs/ tricks and reminders) are kids coming up to me when it is NOT an emergency!
All too often I hear, "I lost my pencil!"  When I ask, "Is it an emergency?" as I am in the middle of teaching a small group.  I have always had rules regarding ask 3 before me and it is an they have been emergency if I need to call a police man, fire man or a doctor.  Regardless I STILL have kiddos interrupting me.  I teach first grade so I have to tiptoe around their feelings and can't say, "GO SIT DOWN!"  If I do some would probably NEVER come back up to me again, even if it was an emergency.
Lo and Behold- I decided to create an updated version of my question cards that are used for specific purposes!  I have been using them for a week and I have to tell you- they have been HIGHLY effective!  I just wish that I would have combined my rules/ signs and question cards together BEFORE now!
Up first are the cards that I am now using during writing workshop:
The first is used when students have Writers Block.  The second card is used if students are ready for Teacher Edit.  This side faces away from the student.  They are also color coded so that I can easily see them even when I am at my reading table.
This side faces the student.  On the yellow card- it has a small version of our revising and editing checklists.  These are to be used as a reminder to the students that they should have used these alone BEFORE they place the yellow card on their desk.
The gray card is used with Writer's Block.  It has pictures for the students to look at to inspire them as they are waiting for me to call them up.  I plan to train peer mentors to help students with Writer's Block soon!  :) 


I just folded the cards on the lines and taped them together at the top. 
This is BY FAR my favorite card and has saved me SOOOO much time!
I copied this on an ivory color so that it would stand out from all of our white paper.  This side faces away from the students.  I keep these in a basket right by my most common teaching area which is my large reading table.
This side faces the student.  I have said the items on the back of the card to the students and even had posters hanging up but none of them worked that well.  Once a student comes up to me  
 during a group and raises his or her hand- I point to my basket full of these cards and they are instructed to take one.
They first need to read #1.  This is a reminder that if it is an emergency that they can interrupt my group RIGHT away.  We also are reminded  that other emergencies are like if you have an accident, if you feel the worst that you have EVER had before, if you already threw up etc.
If it isn't an emergency- they need to read #2 and are reminded to carry the card around and ask 3 different people their question.  We also discussed that friends can even remind you of what I ALWAYS tell them to do if their belly hurts or don't feel well.  (Ask to go to the bathroom, get a drink, put your head down for a little bit.)  If they solve the problem, they put the card back and get right back to work.  If the problem isn't solved- they place it on their desk and wait until I can help them. 
I have to tell you that these have made my week SO much better!  Typically I have to ask EACH student that walks up to my reading table, "Is it an emergency?"  This way the card does the asking for me!
The first 3 people to correctly guess what I'm REALLY hoping to happen tomorrow will receive these for FREE!  :)



  1. I am guessing that you are hoping no one interrupts you unless they have an emergency and everyone uses the cards correctly. Of course you could be hoping to find a bowl of chocolate on your desk. Oh wait that is what I am hoping. ;) cbartram@kitcarsonschool.com

  2. Snow Day?


  3. I think you are hoping to finally feel 100% again! Being healthy and full of ENERGY once again!


  4. I'm going with Rachel - snow day!
    Teachin' First