Quick Management Tip: Ask 3 Before Me (Repost)

I have posted about this strategy before, but it was tucked into the middle of some Daily 5 info, and I definitely feel it deserves a spot of its own... especially this time of year!

Do you ever find yourself answering questions about directions you gave just a few seconds ago? Do you have students interrupting your conferences with another student to ask you where something is located in the classroom?

My solution is to introduce Ask 3 Before Me. I have used this for many years and LOVE it!

The basic idea is that if a student is wondering where something gets turned in, where something is in the class, any of those types of questions, and you are in the middle of something important, you can simply say, "Ask 3 Before Me" and hold up three fingers. This means they can ask three students in class their question and if no one knows the answer, they can come back to you. Later on, I only hold up three fingers as a reminder of this policy.

Here is a video from Teaching Channel that explains Ask 3 Before Me beautifully:

Here are some additional helpful tidbits:
  • We talk a lot about making good choices when it comes to who to ask. If you weren't paying attention to the directions because you were talking to a friend, they probably aren't a good person to ask because you were both not following Rule #1: Listen when your teacher is talking :)
  • I never, ever, ever {cue Taylor Swift song that my girls were singing today} have a student do this if they are unsure of an academic concept or if they are legitimately questioning something. This is simply a reminder for my students to not always rely on me and to not only ask others, but to also try to problem-solve (and listen!) the first time. I loved the correlation to real-life business in the above video!
  • I hang a sign on the side of my desk and near my teaching chair in the meeting area to remind kids of this procedure. This allows me to hold up three fingers and point to the sign if I need to :)
There are quite a few SUPER-CUTE signs from Down Under Teacher in her TpT Store!! She has:
Check them out!

I also made one that matches a lot of signage in my room, like my Class Rules and some of my other projects. You can grab it for FREE from Google Docs HERE.

Freebie Fridays

Do you use Ask 3 Before Me in your class? How does it go?


  1. I have started doing more workshops and conferences and needed something like this to avoid all of the simple questions that I just went over! Thanks so much for the freebie. I will definitely be explaining this more thoroughly to my students! Thanks so much

    Stickers and Stamps

    1. So glad it can help! I agree- it's nice to have this to fall back on when you are conferring :)


  2. Can I just say THANK YOU!! I have been repeating instructions about a MILLION times today and this is a great idea!
    The Hive

  3. You are so sweet for the shout-out! Your sign is so cute, I like it better than mine!

    Down Under Teacher

  4. Hi Stephanie!
    I have used this for years and it works wonders! The kids work harder to be attentive listeners and are so eager to help one another. It's a wonderful addition to any classroom :))

  5. I love how this strategy makes students more independent. I am always telling my students to ask a classmate. I think I will use ask 3 before me from now on. Thanks for sharing! I'm your newest follower.