Tips for Handling Off-Task Students During Class

Help Your Students Focus While Using AES

Laura Van Dyke avatar
Written by Laura Van Dyke
Updated over a week ago

As a teacher, dealing with students who are off-task during class can be frustrating. Students distracted by smartphones and computers miss essential information and can disturb others.

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to keep students focused and engaged during class.

To help your learners stay on-task when using the AES curriculum, we recommend following these steps:

  1. Set Your Classroom Expectations

  2. Assign the AES Digital Responsibility Module

  3. Check Student Progress Regularly

  4. Reconsider How You Deliver Your Instruction

  5. Recognize Student Success

Step 1: Set Your Classroom Expectations

Setting your expectations related to technology with your students is vital to get your classes off to the best beginning possible. Generally speaking, students will adapt to these rules quickly and be off to a productive start.

Some classroom expectations you might consider include:

  • Making students turn off cell phones as they arrive in the classroom.

  • Instructing learners to store their phones in a particular place.

  • Setting boundaries on when students are allowed to work on computers.

  • Ensuring students don’t distract others and stay focused in class.

When you set policies for mobile device and computer use early on, you’ll create a framework that helps students stay focused. In addition, you won’t have to deal with the challenge of introducing a more strict policy later in the semester.

Step 2: Assign the AES Digital Responsibility Module

After you establish your classroom expectations, you can take additional steps to review the appropriate use of technology.

The Digital Responsibility module is included in every AES subscription and is a specific way to set your students up for success with the curriculum system.

The Digital Responsibility module reviews appropriate classroom behaviors regarding technology and includes a customizable online learning agreement for students to complete.

This module is great to use at the beginning of the school year since it reminds students of their role in maintaining a positive learning environment and sets the tone for your class.

Once students have reviewed the Digital Responsibility module, they’ll be better prepared to handle learning through the AES curriculum system.

Step 3: Check Student Progress Regularly

When you assess students digitally via the AES curriculum system, you can monitor learning using the Grades tab.

Under the Grades tab, you can see student progress using the Status Report and check their understanding using the Pre/Post Test Report.

By checking learners’ progress frequently, you can identify students who may be struggling or off-task and address problems quickly before they become serious issues.

Step 4: Reconsider How You Deliver Your Instruction

If your students are frequently off-task, consider ways you can modify your instruction to keep them focused. The steps you take may depend on how many students are distracted in your classes.

If only a few students are off-task, address these learners individually and give them opportunities to refocus. Some strategies you can use include:

  • Print worksheets and require students to complete them by hand.

  • Use pacing settings to require students to complete all lessons in a unit before taking the unit quiz.

  • Give students a grade for completing each lesson separate from the quiz grade.

  • Assign work individually to students who are behind to complete separately from the rest of the class.

If most of the class is distracted, consider assigning group work.

The Reflect and Reinforce phases of the AES curriculum are full of activities that work well with partners and small groups. These activities add variety to your instruction, plus working in teams provides accountability for students to remain on-task.

Step 5: Recognize Student Success

Finally, consider positive reinforcement for students who stay on-task in your classroom.

Recognizing successful students and issuing award certificates ensures learners understand that their hard work is being noticed. You can create student certificates directly in the curriculum system.

This is just one way to reward focused and disciplined students throughout the school year.

Additional Resources

If you’re interested in more advice on managing your classroom, check out these additional resources:

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