Print a "3 before me" classroom poster to encourage students to try 3 things before asking for help.
Encourage Students to Try Three Before Me!
Three before me is a classroom strategy with students trying to solve the problem in three different ways before asking the teacher. Students’ ability to solve problems both independently and collaboratively is imperative when running an efficient classroom. When they get “stuck” or aren’t sure where to go or what to do next, the teacher is generally the first place to go. However, they often can solve the issue on their own or with the help of a classmate.
Building a Growth Mindset With 3 Before Me
Three Before Me may be a classic strategy for teachers to help limit disruptions when working in small groups or one-on-one with individual students, but it’s not just a benefit to you (and the students you’re working with!). It’s also a great way to build a growth mindset in your students!
Consider all the benefits that come from this simple strategy!
- Encourages Independence — By encouraging your students to attempt problem-solving independently, establishing a “3 Before Me” rule fosters a sense of self-reliance. It helps our students develop confidence in their own abilities and encourages them to take initiative when faced with challenges.
- Develops Problem-Solving Skills — When kids can’t come directly to us with their questions, it prompts them to think critically, be creative and explore multiple avenues for solving a problem. Students have to consider different strategies, try various approaches and think outside the box to find a solution. This process of experimentation and exploration strengthens their problem-solving skills and helps them develop a growth mindset.
- Builds Resilience — The “3 before me” concept reinforces the idea that setbacks and obstacles are a natural part of the learning process. Students are encouraged to persevere and find alternative solutions when they encounter difficulties. This resilience-building mindset helps them view challenges as growth opportunities rather than roadblocks to success.
- Promotes Learning From Mistakes — By encouraging our students to attempt different approaches before coming to us for help, “3 before me” allows them to learn from their mistakes. Kids can reflect on what did not work and adjust their strategies accordingly. This approach teaches them that making mistakes is a valuable part of learning and helps them develop a growth mindset that embraces continuous improvement.
- Fosters a Sense of Ownership — Last but certainly not least, “3 before me” empowers students to take ownership of their own learning and instils a sense of responsibility and accountability, as they understand that they can seek solutions independently before relying on external support. This ownership mindset encourages them to actively engage in learning and become more self-directed learners — our ultimate goal as teachers.
Before You Download
Print the poster on cardstock for added durability. Alternatively, project the poster on the board each time students are working on a task independently to remind them of the steps they need to take when they have a problem.