Are you the only judge?

Is there a line of children standing at your desk waiting for you to look at their work?

No matter how old the learners are, they deserve better than to stand around doing nothing while they wait for you.

Have you added up the number of minutes in a day, a week, a year, that a child in your class waits on line for your attention?

Instead of waiting around doing nothing, would any of the following work?

  • Have them share their work with a peer.
  • Have them self-assess or peer assess, using pre-agreed criteria.
  • Collaboratively compose scaffolding questions to help them reflect eg.
    • Have I considered my audience and purpose?
    • Do I like how this sounds when I read it aloud?
    • Have I checked my spelling or my calculations?
    • Is there anything I could change?
    • Does my friend have any suggestions?
    • Could I have done this in another way?
  • Encourage them to reflect on the process of learning:
    • What did I learn?
    • What attitudes did I show?
    • What trans disciplinary skills did I practice?
    • What did I find challenging? 
    • What I notice about myself as a learner?
  • Get them to read while they wait for the teacher: to themselves or to each other.
  • Have them post what they have done online (eg in Seesaw or on a class blog) for feedback from peers, parents or the world.


  • More efficient use of learning time.
  • Increased student ownership.
  • Practising a range of skills beyond waiting – reading, writing, collaborating, thinking, speaking, listening, decision making, reflection…

What other ideas can you add to the list above?

#2 in a series on breaking habits, making small changes creating learning time. (It took me a while to realise what they are really about…)

Homework: Add the number of minutes children wait for a turn to talk (see previous post) to the number of minutes they wait for you to look at their work…


5 thoughts on “Are you the only judge?

  1. Great post and love the suggestions for thinking about learning. I agree and I think it is really important to spend time working with students on how to become a critical friend. This can begin in Prep and be gradually expanded. Its kind of like working with students be be coaches – and when in action is amazing.


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