Busy Tricking

  1. Very carefully and deliberately copying down the title and date, making extensive use of their highlighters and variously coloured gel pens and rulers;
  2. Just copying out the questions and leaving space for the answers (which they then filled in during whole class review);
  3. Writing “answer stems”, where they started writing an answer in full sentence like this: “Bacteria make you feel ill because”;
    And then leave a space. During review, they fill in the rest of the answer (“they produce toxins”) and tick it as correct.
  • ● Purposeful: you aren’t just walking past to check they are working
  • ● Intense scrutiny: you look carefully at what students are actually writing and correct them if they are Busy Tricking
  1. Timing: your circulation should only start once Golden Silence has descended — the point at which students are fully engrossed in their task. Any earlier and it may distract students or students may think you aren’t paying attention to them any more and may bubble up.
  2. Targeting: if you are lucky enough to get Golden Silence really quickly, then get to your strongest students first, as they will likely have written quite a bit already and you can then give them feedback. If it’s been longer than that though, get to your weakest students first, as these are the ones most likely to either need help or to need a bit of a nudge to stop Busy Tricking.
  3. Talking — short, sharp, shhh conversations: when you do find a student who is Busy Tricking, try and get your message across as quickly and as quietly as you can. If you are too noisy, you disturb other students, and if you let it drag out too long you lose the chance to see any other students and risk off-task behaviour.

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