One of the questions I'm asked quite a bit is: "How do you get your students to follow directions when they can't read?" It's also a huge complaint of teachers who are tired of repeating directions as soon as they've just sat their students in front of a white board for a few minutes, modeled what they want their class to do, shown them an example, posted that on the board and done the activity step-by-step.
A young child no sooner gets to their desk and their hand shoots up: "What do I do now?" The patient teacher again explains the directions to that child, a few minutes later they are repeating the same thing to a dozen more who weren't paying attention the first time around. Does this sound familiar?
Who can really blame the young student though. Some experts believe that for every year a child is, you have one minute of undivided attention. If that's true, I basically have 4 minutes to explain my morning's- worth of table top activities. I had to think of something, or lose my voice and sanity, so I developed picture icons. They have been extremely successful! Here's how they work: