Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Helping Hats

In my quest to reduce the time consuming task of checking student papers I came up with an idea for students to help out. I realized I could put to use those students who always finished their assignments first. These student could feel empowered and take a leadership role in the classroom by helping their fellow students (while helping me out at the same time). I decided I needed some kind of indicator the other students could see as to who could help them with their work or check their work for them. I developed the "helping hats." The way this works is that a student who finishes their work first will come to me and have their paper checked. Once they have completed their assignment correctly, they then become a helping hat. They will put on one of the foam hats from out "helping hat" bin. This hat shows the other students that this individual student can check their work for them or offer some help. The students are explicitly taught how to help other and check papers. Below is a picture of one of my students checking another students work.

As you can see he has his paper (which as been corrected by myself) and he is cross check it with another students. The "helping hat" students cannot give answers. They can show the students which items they have wrong, and then provide assistance in helping them think through the problem. Once a student has their paper checked by a helping hat and get their paper correct, then they can become a "helping hat" as well. 

After a student gets their paper correct they may choose a stamp OR a sticker from my "stamp or sticker station." They will then use their paper to check other papers and eventually put their paper in their mailbox to take home. It is so nice not having papers pile up on my desk that I need to check. The students get instant feedback and can take it home the same day. It also allows parents to see what is happening in the classroom day by day. I highly recommend having this system in place in your classroom. The students really love it and it gives them a sense of pride (especially those at-risk students).

**I purchased the foam hats at the Dollar Tree. They were 4 for $1. I keep them in a basket labeled "helping hats." 


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