3 #teachertips to build student independence

Whether you’re in the thick of assessing, trying to wrap it up, or diving head-first into reports – today we’re going to be looking at how to build student independence in the classroom. This is incredibly important in helping you create space to assess students one-on-one, and proofread reports.

#teachertip 1. Get the best Do Not Disturb Sign and use it!

Using a Do Not Disturb signpost in some way in your classroom is an absolute MUST for creating the time and space in your classroom to individually assess students. You can use anything…it could be a light, a hat or a headband that tells your class that you are not to be interrupted!! Without words, the sign communicates that you are working with a student and to hold in their questions while you’re in this space.

If you haven’t used one before, I’m not going to lie…it takes QUITE A FEW times to introduce it to the class and explain that when you’re wearing the hat or the light is on, they are not to interrupt you (unless it’s extremely important…as in wet shoelaces important!). The good news is, if you persist and are consistent, you’ll get to a place where all you have to do is point to the sign when you hear an “Excuse me Miss…” and blissful silence will return!

I use a set of Ladybug ears and they have been a significant #teachertool for creating space for assessment and independence in my students. Over time they learn the important life lesson that they don’t have to tell you everything they had for lunch in that exact moment! (If only they didn’t forget that lesson by high school when they get an instagram account!)

Speaking of instagram, I’ve shared some of my favourite Do Not Disturb signs on my Miss Jacobs’ Little Learners page.

#teachertip 2. Equip your students with reference tools


Along with using a Do Not Disturb sign, it’s so important to equip your students with the reference tools they need for their independent learning time. Along with their random questions, occasionally they’ll have questions about their work too! Just remember that you are not their only resource.

My go-to reference tools are:

  1. Word Rings – to give the students different ideas for their work and reduce interruptions

  1. Alphabet Desk Strips – with a cute graphic corresponding with each letter of the alphabet to assist your students with their writing

  1. Goal Slips – so they can easily see what they need to be working on, with examples and an explanation for clarification

  1. Teaching Tool Posters – so that the students can use the tips in their work (like my Addition Strategy Posters, Recount Posters, Writing Goal Posters, Punctuation Posters and more!)

#teachertip 3. BUIld student independence with Maths and Literacy games


In Term 2 in the classroom, your students are often still so reliant on you for direction, stimulation and encouragement… Particularly in the early years. So it can feel almost impossible to create space for assessment. However, I want to assure you that with the right introduction – your students CAN do independent learning through maths and literacy games!

I personally like to use the fish bowl method, so I invite the whole class to stand or sit in a circle and learn how to play the game. I model it to them by playing with one student, then getting two students to play with each other. Before you can even finish, they’re chomping at the bit to start playing. You can even teach a few games at a time. Just rotate them through the activities for maximum assessment time.

Miss Jacobs’ Little Learners Maths Games Resources:


Fish Frenzy is FREE in my TPT store! It is super fun AND promotes those early counting skills and number recognition. So it’s a total win win! 

Miss Jacobs’ Little Learners Literacy Games Resources:


I have bundled together 7 of my most popular literacy games in my Literacy Centre Games Bundle, including:

These will have your students learning their alphabet and associated sounds in no time… Then you can assess them on it!! (Get the bundle here >>)


What’s something you could implement from these #teachertips to build student independence? Do you have any tips of your own to share?


3 #teachertips to build student independence - Miss Jacobs Little Learners

Recent Posts

Classroom essentials for new teachers

Ahhh, to be a grad teacher again. There’s no feeling quite like walking into your very own classroom for the first time. The excitement, the nerves, the niggling sense of...