What I’ve Tried Cards

what I've tried cards on clipboard

Classroom management strategies don’t have to be complicated to work well. I’ve got a simple card system I created to help my classroom run smoothly. I was sharing it at a training in Lewisville, Texas, and some of the teachers there asked that I share the cards.

I have three types, so to make it less confusing, I’m sharing each one separately. This week it’s….

What I’ve Tried Cards

No one likes a tattle-tale (or, as they say in Australia where my husband’s from, “dibber-dobber”). No one likes a whiner (or, as they say in Australia where my husband’s from, “whinger”). What we do want is to help students learn to manage their problems and challenges as best they can. We want them to work towards developing skills of their own.

Before they come to me seeking help, I ask them to complete a “What I’ve Tried” card. This card asks them to share with me what the problem is, what they’ve already tried, what the result of that was, and what specific help they’re looking for from me.

I give them a few choices here.

  • They can ask for another idea from me.
  • They can ask for a change. This could be a seating change, an assignment change, or just a small adjustment in something like a deadline.
  • They can ask for help talking with the person involved, if there is another student or adult who is part of the issue.
  • There is an “other” option as well, in case none of those three choices are what they think they need,

They turn it in to me, and I review it and act. I have them put the date on the form, and then I try very hard to act quickly.

I love this card! It allows them to take ownership of their problems, while still seeking appropriate help. It also clues me in to consistent issues. For instance, if three students give me “What I’ve Tried” cards telling me that another student is touching them without permission, taking their things, copying their work (or any number of issues), I get a solid picture of what (read “who”) the real issue is.

It also helps the students grow their toolbox of strategies and learn how to reflect on what worked in the past (and might, just might, work in the future).

Although I made this for my classroom, I think you could easily adapt it for home use as well.

Think that Aussie husband of mine would use it?

Stay tuned for my other two types of cards!

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What I Have Tried Cards - Great classroom management strategy from Gifted Guru
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