Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Classroom Management: Bathroom & Water

Using American Sign Language (ASL) in the classroom helps to create a learning environment with minimal distraction. The students communicate their basic needs using two ASL signs. This eliminates the need to interrupt the class while allowing us to be aware of the location of each student at all times.
We ask that they do not request to get a drink or use the bathroom (unless it is an emergency) during direct instruction so that they do not miss important information.
Students are able to let us know what they need by holding up a specific sign. We are able to simply look at them and nod to acknowledge their request.

"Bathroom" sign                                               "Water" sign

Classroom Management: Listening Look

At the start of the year we will establish a “Listening Look.” This shows that students are focused on the speaker. Our listening look includes eyes and ears on the person speaking and hands clasped together (so as not to be fidgeting with anything).

We save this look for important messages and guests or to redirect the class if it is getting a bit chaotic. I will ask for the "Listening Look" and clasp my hands together. The students will stop what they are doing and look directly at me, giving me their undivided attention.

In August we will take a photo of the class sporting the listening look.

Ready, Set, Go!

I've enjoyed using Whole Brain Teaching's "Class-Yes" as a way to get attention, especially when I need to give some quick instructions to the whole class. This year, I am adding a piece to send them back to their work or to follow the instructions I just gave.
In order to send the class on their way, I will end directions by saying "Ready" and hitting both hands on my lap.

The kids reply by saying "Set" and clapping their hands together once.

We then all say "GO!" and raise our hands in the air.

This should help energize us to get into the next learning activity as soon as we can.

Classroom Management: Attention Getters

I'm following up last summer's post about the "Class?" "Yes!" Whole Brain Teaching method. I want to introduce this approach of bringing the class together as well as the other ways that Mrs. Glidden and I will get third grade's attention.

Class? Yes!

To get the class’ attention I say ‘Class?’ and they respond ‘Yes!’. The key is that they say "Yes!" in the same style that I said "Class?". This technique is engaging and results in students stopping what they are doing to give me their undivided attention.

If I say "Classity-class-class?" they have to reply "Yessity-yes-yes!" If I say it with a high-pitched voice, they respond with a high-pitched voice. If I whisper, they say it in a whisper. Students have to match my tone and intensity. This is where the creativity and fun come in. 
The research behind why the class-yes approach is effective can be found at

Additional methods

Mrs. Glidden and I will most often use the “Class? Yes!” technique. Variations include “Hocus pocus” to which the class responds “Everybody focus,” “1-2-3 eyes on me” “1-2 eyes on you,” “Macaroni cheese” “Everybody freeze,” and “Hands on top... That means stop! (hands on heads).” We also use math facts. One of us calls out a math fact and the kids reply with the answer. For example, one time we might practice multiplication doubles or another time we could say combinations of ten. The extra practice never hurts!
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