One of the most critical steps when implementing The 10 Steps to Independence is also one of the most difficult for teachers to do. Step 8, Stay Out of the Way, can feel counter-intuitive. However, we must situate ourselves away from the group, allowing children to practice without our interfering reminders to correct behavior or interruptions of praise. If we truly want to build independence, then this step is crucial!
When we were first developing Daily 5, we placed kids around the room and promptly, but quietly, went around monitoring behavior. by telling them they were doing a good job, redirecting others, and lavishing compliments specific to their correct behaviors. Stamina built quickly and our kids were very successful. However, as soon as we removed ourselves from the whole group environment to work with individuals, the class fell apart and stamina diminished. We realized that our students had anchored their on-task behavior to us and if we expected children to work independently, without our constant support, they would need to practice and build stamina without it as well.
In this video, Christie's fourth grade students are practicing Read to Self for the first time. Joan is there for support and to help Christie stifle the urge to mingle, encourage, and correct. Instead, the teachers surreptitiously wait and watch for the "barometer child", the first child to break stamina, which is the cue that it is time to regroup and teach the last two steps of The 10 Steps of Independence.
Listen in as Joan explains to Christie the process of watching for a Barometer Child.