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Why telling students the directions isn’t enough! (and what you can do about it)

classroom management edtech google in-person teaching tech in the classroom tech tips Jun 19, 2020

We all know why these memes are so funny. We give directions and then inevitably a student was talking to a neighbor, daydreaming, playing with a fidget and they ask “What are we doing?”

The 61 Best Teacher Memes On The Internet | Teacher memes, Teacher humor, Teaching  memes

I can literally feel myself getting warm with rage and frustration just thinking about it!

Students are human and can’t be expected to listen to every single thing we say all of the time. Oh, that would be a dream though.

Teacher Memes 4 | Teacher memes funny, Teacher classroom rules, Teaching  memes

Studies have shown that directions are more effective when they are given to students in multiple ways: specifically, orally AND written.

With students who receive special education services, the need for written directions increases dramatically. They cannot hold on to lengthy, multi-step directions. No wonder we have so many lost and confused students!

Just read the directions! | Teacher memes funny, Teacher humor, Teaching  memes

Years ago, I started writing out directions for students on my whiteboard, but I teach 6 distinctly different classes a day. It was WAY too much writing! and if I had classes back to back, you can bet it wasn’t getting done. There was no time!

So then, I started using a Google Slides version of my directions and it is way easier! Because I am a secondary teacher, I need multiple sets of directions for different classes, and being able to type them up ahead of time and just project them was SO much easier and efficient.


Now, my students know, the first thing they do when they enter my classroom is to read the front board. They don’t all do it all of the time, because middle schoolers are middle schoolers, but my classroom management has been so less frustrating.

I am able to stand by the door and greet every student while those in my classroom read and follow the directions.


I am also able to incorporate links to other presentations, handouts, or videos so I can easily bring them up to display for the class!

My slides have grown and changed since those first days, but the idea is still the same. Students are easily able to see what to do and then do it!


If you want to give this a try, check out my Google & PPTX Agenda Slides on TPT linked here. 

Let me know what you do to get students started at the beginning of class in the comments!