Three Before Me

Student Contributor: F. Lebo
Three Before me has students asking at least 3 classmates for help or repeat of directions before going to the teacher. This helps resolve students crowding the teacher and repeat of questions.

This tool is free and easy to use, you just have to teach students the procedure. This tool can be used when students are released from instruction to begin working on their own. If students had a hard time listening or couldn’t hear directions, they can ask their peers for clarification, or if a student needs help with their assignments in class they can work with their peers to figure it out first. If a student has asked at least 3 other students, then they can go to the teacher to ask if they are still confused.

When using this I have been able to notice a better peer to peer group work and students learning more. This can help students with socialization and getting out of their comfort zones to ask others for help. It also helps the teacher not get crowded around getting the same questions and allows for the teacher to roam around the classroom seeing what their students are doing.

I placed this in the preventive stage because it seemed like the best fit. Since this tool is meant to keep students on task with assignments while giving a teacher a break from the same consistent questions that can be answered by the table groups or other peers in the class. By using the three before me tool you will be able to see what kids are understanding the material and who is not quite understanding.

This tool is Teacher-Centered and Collaborative since it is set by a teacher in the first couple of weeks of class. This keeps students on task and working with the class while the teacher is getting the opportunity to walk around or finish up a task from earlier in the day. It helps keeps the environment of the classroom friendly and mature which allows students to work together in a comfortable setting.

More Information –
Tool Source: Gus Nollmeyer, and multiple past teachers.

2 thoughts on “Three Before Me”

  1. In my classroom, I have 15 second graders who have had a really hard time with listening and following directions especially with it nearing the end of the school year. When I came a crossed this preventative tool, it really caught my eye because of this well known issue. After discussing this tool with my mentor teacher, she loved it and immediately wanted to implement it within our next lesson. After implementing this tool and introducing it to the students, the students responded very well. I didn’t end up having to repeat myself once! I even noticed that I was having students who rarely ever talk to each other, work together to figure out what all the directions were/what the next step was. My mentor teacher and I continued to implement this for another week leading up to now, and the students love it themselves! There is a noticeable change in the classroom dynamic with our students helping each other out. Those who are uncomfortable asking friends for help, have even started to listen to directions more clearly simply so they don’t have to ask for help. Overall, this tool was very successful for my classroom and I plan on taking it with me into my last quarters of student teaching and eventually my own classroom.

  2. I Implemented the “Three Before Me” preventative strategy into my 4th grade classroom. My class has 24 students and the school is located in a suburban neighborhood. Implementing this strategy didn’t take much preparation and was easy to introduce during our morning meeting. As a class we had a discussion about how sometimes we have questions that we have been told the answer to multiple times, the answer can be found around the room, or are about the daily routine. We discussed that a lot of the times our classmates would know the answers to these questions. We discussed different people they could ask for different types of questions as well as when it is appropriate to do so. After using this strategy for a few weeks my mentor teacher and I both noticed a huge difference in the amount of raised hands, or students coming up to us throughout the day. While most students are catching on, reminders are still needed for some because students have such a habit of walking up during instruction from previous grades, so we slowly are trying to transition to a new norm. To remind students of the new procedure we ask “Have you asked 3 others?”. One thing we did add to this strategy that we thought made it better by helping reduce the number of classmates they have to ask was before asking 3 people, students are encouraged to look around the room (ex:at the white board or projector) to see if they can answer the question on their own.


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