Classroom Management

Classroom Strategy: C 3 B 4 Me! (See Three Before Me)

Teacher-Author: Sherry Johnson, M.Ed.

C 3 B 4 Me! 

I use C3 B4 Me, to help with classroom management issues. There are times when I am working with a small group of students or conferencing with a student and simultaneously, other students may desire immediate feedback on the task being completed independently. If the students needing feedback interrupts the small group lesson or the individual conferences taking place, then it becomes difficult for me to systematically meet the needs of all students. The strategy C3 B4 Me is a good alternative to interrupting the teacher, while allowing students to get the help they need.

The ABC of C3

photo 9There are three distinct component of C3 (See Three), anchor chart, books and classmates.

Anchor Chart– During the teaching/learning process we create anchor charts to capture our thoughts and record our thinking. While completing an assignment, if students do not remember how to answer a question in math or the parts of a story in Reading then they may look at the anchor chart.

Books (including textbooks and notebooks) – If students checked the anchor charts and they could not find the answer to their question, then they may use a book. This include textbooks, big books/class books that we created or they may use their photonotebooks. It is important for notebooks to be kept updated for use as a reference.

Classmates – If students checked the anchor charts, and books and still cannot find the answer to their question they may ask a classmate for assistance. In my classroom, each student has at least three different partners. These are the partners they may ask first. They may also ask “an expert” if one exists for the topic being explored.


Before I started using this strategy, I was often interrupted. I used an Ask-it Basket where students could post a question if I am working in small group, but that strategy was not effective. The question that surfaced while the students were working still remained unresolved and some of the students would often sit and wait for me to answer the question instead of continuing to attempt their work. After implementing C3 B4 Me! I was rarely interrupted while working in small groups. After rehearsing and explaining the system, interruption was almost nonexistent (once in a while a student got really excited about sharing an idea and had to be reminded of the C3 B4 Me expectation).

Classroom Management IssuesIMG_1313

With the students, I make a poster for C3 B4 Me and strategically place it next to my small group table. (I have also used a poster that was previously made on the computer, but I make sure that we discuss the poster so that the students can articulate the importance and meaning.) Next to the poster is the Ask-it Basket, so students may leave me a note while I am working with the small group. While executing this strategy, some students will be walking around the room, so they must be taught to move quickly and quietly when seeking assistance. Have clear expectations how long individuals may be out of their seats to get assistance. In my classroom, the expectation is to have only one person moving around the room. Students sit to talk and then stand and quickly return to their tables when they are through talking. By so doing, we do not have a lot of movement around the room.

How to Implement C3 B4 Me in Your Classroom

  1. Teach the expectation emphasizing what the ABC of C3 means
  2. Explain to the students that the strategy is designed to protect their learning time. You want to make sure that everyone is able to get individualized instruction by working directly with you.
  3. Encourage students to write their question down on sticky note if no one was able to answer it. In my classroom I have an Ask-it Basket where students could post their notes and then I was able to read and respond to the individual questions/concerns.

Materials Needed

C3 B4 Me Poster, Sticky Notes, Established Partners /Experts, Anchor Charts, Notebooks

Suggestions for Resources

See Video Presentation