Seven Effective Roving Strategies

Roving your classroom as your students are working is a powerful way to:

  • Motivate students
  • Keep students focused on the task
  • Teach at the point of need
  • Provide feedback
  • Receive feedback
  • Develop self- esteem and confidence
  • Build relationships


Do you have students who are reluctant workers, rarely on task and difficult to motivate?

Do you have students who always work to the best of their ability, use their initiative and have a love of learning?

How do you receive and provide feedback to every student during every lesson?

Here are seven techniques to use as you rove your classroom. Use one or use them all during a session to cater for all your students.

 1. The Tick

Provide every student with tick/s as you rove. It’s instant feedback to confirm:

  • Correct work
  • Great effort
  • You are on the right track
  • You have achieved new learning
  • Keep going
  • I agree with you


  • Give one or more ticks to a student who is a reluctant starter. It will give them a boost to keep going.
  • Use different colours. Put two or three colours together and do a rainbow tick.
  • Use compliments as you record the tick.

I like the way you have …

I notice that you have …

Great effort so far, I’m looking forward to seeing what you achieve next.

 Why wait till students have finished before you begin correcting. Start correcting as soon as students begin working. Immediate feedback is appreciated by students. It shows you are interested, you care how they are getting on and they know if they are heading in the right direction.

2. The Comment – for feedback to students – written or verbal.

  • The Evaluation Comment to inform students of their achievements. I see you understand … , I am impressed with your understanding of … , You have nailed the skill of … , I can see evidence of … , You show a clear understanding of … .
  • The ‘KAPOW’ Comment WOW, IMPRESSIVE, GREAT EFFORT, AMAZING – write the ‘kapow’ comment in capitals and colours. Reluctant workers thrive on a ‘kapow’ comment.

The Tick and The Comment are effective techniques to use with the reluctant students who need a big dose of motivation and acknowledgement to keep them on track. You only need to find one thing they have done to provide a tick or a comment. It releases endorphins and positive feelings.

3. The Teacher Question – to gain feedback from students re knowledge and understanding

Tell me about … , What’s this? Explain the process you used to get this answer. Why this answer? Justify why you believe this to be correct? How do you know this is correct? What do you want me to notice? Point to two correct strategies you have used. Show and tell me about four punctuation marks you have used. What is the purpose of using a capital letter here? 

4.  Receiving Student Feedback 

Student says, ‘ I would like you to notice…, I want to tell you that…, I choose this idea because… , I am pleased that I … , I have nailed … ‘. 

Idea: Write three or four of the feedback starters on the white board or a poster. Students select one to use when you ask them for feedback as you rove the classroom.

5. Tips Time

Provide a tip for anything that needs correcting.

Note: Use the word tip rather than help. Say, ‘I notice that you have this part incorrect. Here’s a tip to get it sorted’.

Teach your students to ask for a tip rather than help. Some students are reluctant to ask for help. Asking for a tip allows them to feel calm and in charge. The implication is they are ok but just need a tip to keep going.

NOTE: The student must make the correction after you have provided the tip. Avoid making the correction yourself on their work.

Here’s a tip re spelling … – select any word they have incorrectly spelt and teach right there, right now!

e.g. Here’s a tip re … sitting letters on the line, letter heights, clear readable writing, check this part, have another check of this equation, see this part, you have used the right strategy but need to do a recalculation.

Provide tips for small errors that can be corrected straightaway – eg capital letters, punctuation, and spelling.

If you notice that several students are making the same error offer a quick ‘Target and Tips Teaching Time’. Announce to the class that the Four T’s Time will be starting in one minute in an area nominated by you. Everyone who needs a few tips come on down. Let the student make the decision to come then TEACH!

 Idea: Have a supply of erasers, it’s ok to allow students to erase the errors and redo. It ‘locks in the learning’.

6. Teach Now

Teach at the point of need, right here right now!

Never ever by pass something that you see students have incorrect. (Refer to Tips) That’s the time you teach by giving a tip.

7. The Note

Feedback via a note, alternative to verbal feedback. As you rove take a small notepad and pen with you to record feedback to students. As you walk past leave the note on their work.

Writing notes to your students provides positive feedback that can be taken home and shared. 

Writing notes to your students provides positive feedback that can be taken home and shared.

Alternative Idea: As you rove use a small whiteboard to record feedback comments to students. Display the message to the student or students as you wander past. A powerful way to boost student’s confidence and well-being.


When to Rove?

  • Every lesson
  • While students are getting organised to begin the task.
  • As students are working on the task
  • To keep students on task
  • To motivate and acknowledge achievement

How much time should you spend roving?

Observe, use your ‘teaching instincts’ and rove as often as you can. Reluctant workers need lots of quick feedback straight away.

Well done getting organised, I see you have your pencils ready, well done, I like the way you have started, great heading, I like your letter T. Focus on anything that they have started and praise the effort.

If you have a focus group to work with call out positive feedback to students as they are working. That way they know you are still observing them, are ‘with them’ and acknowledging their efforts.

Take a quick break from the focus group to do a quick rove around, correcting and providing verbal and written feedback.

Make sure you provide feedback to EVERY STUDENT as you rove. Rove at random. Target students who are slow to start or not working. Only provide positive feedback to every student.

Roving is the time to keep everything positive. You are teaching and providing meaningful feedback as you rove.

Keep the chatter going as you rove. Other students overhear you and will pick up on the outcomes you are expecting.

Great thinking, you have all your full stops in the correct place.

I notice you have used the word ‘Firstly’ in your persuasive writing. You are thinking the right way. Keep going.

You are switched on today. Look at the way you have set out your equations. I am so proud of you.

Outcomes for a Roving Teacher and their Students:

  • Students receive feedback and acknowledgement of their achievements.
  • You gather knowledge about your student’s achievements and needs.
  • Provides motivation for reluctant students.
  • Keeps students focused on the task.
  • Students learn at the point of need.
  • Teachers teach at the point of need.
  • Relationships continued to be built between teacher and students.

Never underestimate the power of roving. It’s effective and easy to accomplish. The outcomes for you and your students will surprise and delight you. It’s a powerful teaching and feedback strategy to use every day!