When students are asked to work without direct teacher supervision, opportunity for misbehavior and/or time off-task increases. Consider the following suggestions to help keep students on-task and actively engaged in their work.
Ensure that students can successfully complete the assignment alone.
Develop and model a clear example of what student behavior should look and sound like during the independent work time.
Provide initial support by beginning independent assignments with guided practice.
Modify assignments to meet the needs of lower performing students.
Set specific time limits (use timers).
Set specific “help” expectations. (i.e. Can students help each other? Should they circle and skip? Use available resources?)
Provide exemplars and rubrics for students to self-asses their work.
Provide an activity or challenge to students who may finish early.
Keep independent work periods brief, especially near the end of the day.
Spontaneously walk between the desks to monitor students’ progress.
Narrate (speak aloud) the positive, on-task behavior you observe.
Provide feedback (as often/quickly as possible) to individual students and the class.