Following directions is something we expect of our students. Sometimes, they need a little direction….
Here is an idea from one of the speakers from the 2014 DREAM conference in Orlando, Florida:
An activity to help students understand the importance of reading the instructions and asking questions to clarify BEFORE doing their project or assignment:
You have two minutes to write down as many of the 50 states as you can recall. You will get one point for each correct answer. (give them time to write a few…) Did I mention you also have to write down the names of the capital cities of each state? (give them time to write a few more…) By the way, you only get points for the ones you write in alphabetical order. ( give them just a little more time…) Have you written them down in alphabetical order by the capital city, not the state? You only get points if you listed them alphabetically by the capital city. (wait for the groans…)
Obviously, this will create some frustration for the students. The lesson to be learned here is, had they waited for all of the instructions before beginning, and had they asked questions to clarify first, they would not have wasted their time doing work that then had to be redone in order to get credit for it!