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Skip the Line

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Skip the Line is a simple facilitation protocol to better address students’ needs and add a layer of initiative and autonomy to the experience.


The exact implementation of a strategy like Skip the Line is highly adaptable to situations and circumstances. One of the most common methods of implementation may be the following:

  • Begin by listing student names on a doc or spreadsheet.
  • Some may want to project the list on the screen or board. Others feel it is more effective to keep the list private so that it can also be used for notes while meeting with students.
  • While students work (in a workshop, independent practice, or collaborative situation), the teacher circulates, conferring with students and noting conferences as they occur on the doc/sheet.
  • For the students, then, if they feel their need is more pressing, they go up to the whiteboard and write their name in the “Skip the Line” section.
  • Alternatively, the teacher could have a form that students use to submit their needs, but unless students already have devices out with the form easily accessible, this method may be overly inconvenient.
  • When the teacher notices a name on the Skip the Line board, the teacher moves to that student next for a conference.
  • After doing so, or if the student’s need changes before the teacher approaches, the student who wrote the name may erase it from the board.

One other common variation of this strategy includes using a kind of visual signal approach like multi-colored cards where if the red side is up, help is needed, but if the green side is up, all is well.

Whatever the specific approach, the Skip the Line strategy is a highly effective means of encouraging student self-reflection and initiative as well as adding a layer of autonomy to workshop time.

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