2 More Mistakes you are Making when Prompting Students

Previously, I shared 3 prompts you're making with your students that you may not even notice and now I'm back to share some more unintentional prompts you may be providing in your classroom without even noticing.

Lack of distracters
Have you ever prepared the perfect task for your students and they don't even try on the last stimulus because there's only one matching option left? It happens in my classroom all the time. Even when students have made errors and their answers don't even match!

How do I solve this?
Sometimes I put an extra distracter in the task box for my students. If students are completing a matching task, sometimes, I'll put in an extra icon I have laying around or a piece from another task. This helps my students attend to what they are doing from the start of the task to the end of the task. If my students are working on one of my CVC reading tasks, I'll add in an extra word or two that they will not match to a stimulus card.

Another way I help solve this is removing stimulus from a task. Here's a great example. I absolutely adore my math flipbooks in my classroom, but when the students get to the last page, they simply take the last number and match it to the page. Even if they've made errors on the other pages. To combat this problem, I remove a page from my flipbooks. That's right, during the prep process, I purposefully do not include one of the pages in my addition or subtraction flipbooks. This will leave the student with an extra number to choose from on their final problem and avoids the arbitrary match at the end. Check out how the last page of my buddy's subtraction flipbooks look:

Facial Expressions
Here's another prompt you may be providing in your classroom and have no clue that you're doing it. Our facial expressions can give our students so many cues. Have you ever asked a student to do something, they attempted to do the task, and looked at your face for a reaction? That's a pretty clear sign that you are providing extra prompts through your facial expressions.

I've been super guilty of this one in the past and it's something that took me a while to work on with my students. I'll tell you right now, you may or may not know if your students are reading you for facial cues, but in my case it was quite evident. My students wouldn't even look at the stimulus during teaching time, they were only looking at my face.

I tried a few different ways to combat these facial cues I was giving in my classroom. Here's what I tried:

  • Giving no eye contact. At all.
  • Smiling and nodding to every response. I felt crazy, but it was a consistent response.

I won't lie, both of these felt really silly in the moment, but I'll tell you, it was super successful for the students I was targeting with this intervention. Within a couple weeks, I had my students attending to the stimulus instead of my reaction to their response.

Have you been over prompting your students without even realizing it?


  1. The last one is hard. I find it especially hard when I'm doing an assessment with a kid. When they make a mistake I tend to want to prompt them to try again or try to teach it to them. Instead I say, "Good job," meaning "good job at attempting that problem," but I kind of feel like I'm lying to them! Are they going to go their whole lives thinking that 5 - 1 = 6 because I praised them for that answer? (LOL)

    1. Such a great point about reinforcing when assessing. When I'm running into the ceiling for my students and they're making errors I try to reinforce their behavior instead of their "work". I'll say things like "I like how you're sitting in the chair", "Awesome hands in your lap", "Great persistence!" That was I'm still giving my students kudos but they're also not thinking they are nailing the assessment items when they're not. I hope that makes sense. :)

  2. Your detailed guidelines will help me to overcome these mistakes and have best things for prompting students. Dissertation writing services


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