1-2-3 Come Learn Some Hand Signals With Me and Take Control of Interruptions!
Ask any teacher what their students' most frequently asked question is and "Can I go to the bathroom?" will be in the top 3. "Can I get a drink?" and "Can I sharpen my pencil?" Will be right up there as well.
If their question was grammatically incorrect, as with the above use of "can", to help teach appropriate grammar, I'd often reply: "Yes you CAN, but NO, you MAY not." I'd explain this from the beginning and pretty soon all of my students were learning the proper use of the word "may".
Young children, simply being kids, are often interrupting. An obvious remedy to this problem is enforcing the raising of hands. Because this is easily understood, I thought I'd take it a step farther.
If you want to go to the bathroom you make a fist and stick out your thumb. Displaying a specific number of fingers, to signal a need, has been around since I was a child, however, instead of putting up 1 finger, I found it especially helpful, to do the "fist and thumb" for a bathroom request, simply because my Y5's were often raising and waving their hands, but never with a fist. I could then see at a glance, who needed immediate attention.
This technique is so simple, yet really works. Start out by teaching the concept on the 1st day of school. Choose one of the posters, print several copies, laminate, and hang up in several "sure to be seen" places in your room, and then practice a bit.
The hand signals are especially helpful when you are explaining something. No need for a child to raise their hand and state their need out loud. They just put up a hand signal; you make eye contact with that student and nod yes or no. This also avoids children getting out of their seats to ask you, and lessens "copy cats." Have you ever noticed how many kiddo's all of a sudden need to do something, just because one child got the ball rolling?
Some teachers add "Get a tissue" as another signal, but I feel if you need a Kleenex, because you just sneezed and snot is running down your face, no need to hesitate, just go get one and take care of business. I let students know from day one, that they could get a tissue whenever the need arose, and then follow up with a squirt of hand sanitizer shortly after. In all of my years of teaching, no one ever abused the privilege.
Click on the link to view/download the Signal Me anchor chart-poster, and let the training begin! I've also designed a few more classroom posters for back-to-school week. To view the 2nd article I wrote for today, simply scroll down.
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"In the garden of my loneliness, trespassers will never be prosecuted." -Ashleigh Brilliant
1-2-3 Come Write With Me! Waddle You Write About?
I love using a poster as a segue for a writing assignment. Dr. Seuss's "Lucky Duckie" quotation is a great vehicle for that.
It's from his book Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? which is a wonderful story for discussing the theme of contentment, and being happy with who you are.
"Thank goodness for all of the things you are not! Thank goodness you're not something someone forgot...That's why I say, "Duckie! Don't grumble! Don't stew! Some critters are much-much, oh, ever so much-much, so muchly much-much more unlucky than you!"
Print off the poster and share it with your students. In a discussion before hand, brainstorm why a person is lucky. What things do they have, that others who don’t live in America, or who are poor, don’t have etc.
Print off the cover for the class book + the writing prompt page for each of your students.
Remind them of beginning capitalization, end punctuation and spaces between their words and you have covered 3 common core standards.
Students trace the beginning prompt and then complete the sentences: "I think I'm a lucky ducky because..." and "I'm glad I don't..."
Collect and collate the pages and share the completed book with your class, by having each student read their page when you come to it. If you don't want to make a class book, you can use the duck template and make an adorable spring bulletin board for March is Reading Month.
Here's How: Run off the ducks on yellow construction paper.
Students cut them out and then write why they feel they are lucky.
For more pizzazz, add a wiggle eye. student photo, feather, and a 3 dimensional beak. Mount the ducklings on a blue background bulletin board, so that the ducks look like they are swimming in a pond. Add clouds to the sky.
Glue the poster to a sheet of pastel construction paper and put it in the middle of the board. Add some toilet paper roll “cat tails” for a 3D effect + some pastel polka dot or striped bulletin board boarder for that finishing touch.
Click on the link to view/download Dr. Seuss Lucky Ducky Packet.
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"Today you are you; that is truer than true, there is no one else that is youer than you." -Dr. Seuss