Quick Tip: Ask, “Who Doesn’t?”

Here’s a quick tip for teachers young and old: Ask, “Who doesn’t…?”

What I mean by that is when you’re addressing the whole clasquestion-mark-who-doesnts, trying to figure out if you have passed out enough papers, or asking if everyone has turned in their work, don’t ask, “Does everyone have one?” or “Is everybody finished?” because you’re setting yourself up for a loud, rowdy class.

In each of these examples, you are going to get a lot of kids shouting, “Yes!” and you’ll miss the real information you’re looking for.

What you should ask instead is, “Who doesn’t have one?”  Or ask, “Who doesn’t have their work in the basket yet?”

There are many times when experienced teachers are trying to calm the class down and transition into a new topic, and instead they just rile everybody up!

It’s a very small, easy change, but when we ask these questions multiple times a day for 180 days a year, it adds up to either a lot of clarity or a lot of confusion.

To make things even clearer and calmer, I often don’t even ask for a verbal response.  When I’m passing out my daily warm ups, I always say, “Raise your hand if you didn’t get one.”  This keeps the room quiet, and no one gets distracted by their neighbor calling out information that really only matters to me and that one student.

Try it tomorrow.  Ask, “Who doesn’t…?” and you’ll have classroom that’s a little bit calmer and quieter.


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