Classroom Interventions

"The best way to escape from a problem is to solve it."

Last year, I let some students escape me. This year, I'd like to go in with some sort of problem solving plan. I'm trying to work out my own 'red flags' and a response for each one.

I'd like to share a few ideas from some pamphlets I read a while ago.

Until a problem is defined, a student may not know what it is. This highlights my need for a list of red flags that can be easily observed. I'm also wanting to do a monthly check up where students assess themselves, then I assess them on the same criteria, and they can compare the results to identify any problems.

If they do identify a problem, pose the questions: "How do you want this to turn out? How do you want to see your problem resolved?" Have the student identify and actually write down the cause(s) of the problem. The student may even have to go back, review, and add to the list.

List all of the possible solutions before deciding what action to take, together. Identify specific actions.

Monitor the student closely. Do not wait for the next test to show positive results before you give feedback.

Red Flags
  • Two or more times not participating in class
  • Two or more times sleeping in class in a two week span.
  • Two or more failing grades in a two week span.
  • Two or more absences in a two week span.
  • Two or more times to see the nurse/bathroom in two week span.
  • Abnormal changes in behavior in a two week span.
  • Two or more confrontations with teacher and/or other student in a two week span. 
 Now what are some ways I could address these behaviors in the classroom?

Related Resources: Answer Getting, Analyzing Student Mistakes, Mastery Quizzes


  1. I notice the number two comes up a lot in your description above. Why two and not one (with the exception of the bathroom behavior)?

    Also, I often found this useful to frame as, what beliefs by students lead to the behaviors listed above, and how can I intervene in those beliefs (if they are harmful to student learning).

    1. I thought two because one time can be excused but two might be the beginning of a pattern.

  2. There's an entire dialogue I learned in a grad class about problem solvers and problem keepers. The first is getting the student to acknowledge a problem exists and whether or not she wants to solve the problem. If they don't have a solution, the teacher asks, "Would you like to know how others solved a problem similar to yours?" I ended up creating a presentation on it when I taught a middle level endorsement class. I need to dig that up and post it. Thanks for shaking the cobwebs!