Using Hint Cards to Promote Independence

When working through complex ideas or processes, much of a teacher’s time can be taken up with answering student questions one raised hand at a time. This can sometimes lead to inefficient use of time, because students who are stuck end up waiting for a turn to discuss the problem with the teacher. One possible fix for this is: Hint Cards.

To hear an expert speak about her use of Hint Cards watch the 2-minute video above, but here are the basics:

  • Hint Cards are placed around the classroom by the teacher, and are the first place students look for help, rather than having the teacher be the first point of clarification.
  • The teacher has written probing questions on the Hint Cards to guide students in the right direction (the answers are not written on the Hint Cards).
  • Hint Cards give teachers time to focus their attention on the students who truly need deeper help and provide independence to students who are capable of doing the work but require more reassurance to feel comfortable.
  • Hint Cards allow kinesthetic learners a valid reason to occasionally get up and move around the room.
  • Hint Cards work well for shy students who may feel uncomfortable asking for clarification aloud.
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