Classroom Management (non verbal)

Hey Friend!

It’s the weekend, time to recharge those batteries and get ready for the next week of craziness in the classroom.

So today I want to share some ideas to help make the classroom less CrAzY! Non verbal signs and hand signals…do you use them? If you don’t, you should read on to see why they help make me the queen of classroom management (ok, maybe not QUEEN…but pretty good at it!
So my kids know have been trained NOT to bother me while I am working with others unless there is an emergency. Tip: if your class is like mine you will need to review WHAT is an emergency? In my class it can be only 3 things:
1. my pencil is broken
2. I don’t know where the word work center is
3. a book is ripped
1. There is a fire in the classroom
2. You are about to throw up
3. Someone has passed out
Simple right? So what do kids do if they cannot bother you? What if they need to use the bathroom right after we just visit the bathroom? Hand signals!!

Many years ago, I got the idea (probably from another teacher) to use the sign language letter R to signal, “I need to visit the restroom.” It is awesome because I don’t even have to stop talking while teaching whole group or small group because I can just give a quick nod to give permission.

In addition, there is no ripple effect of kids needing to go to the bathroom since it is silent. #winning

My favorite hand signal is our class quiet sign. At the beginning of the year I use this Finger Eye Puppet to engage my students. {Get yours here.}

We talk about what a good listener looks like: their ears are up and their lips are closed. So this is our class quiet sign, they love it. IT IS OURS….IT IS SECRET. Now it’s your too!

Use it, you will crack up when they point the quiet sign at their own face to quiet themselves down! HA!

In my classroom I try to make every minute count. I also need to make my kids accountable. No sleeping in my classroom, no letting your friends answer everything while you cruise.  So I use hand signs to do that.

Before I go on, here is an important thing…WAIT TIME. Some of your students will try to be lazy, but once they know that is not acceptable they won’t try it anymore. WAIT TIME, give it!

During whole group mini lessons I use think and point.

For example if I ask, “Does the word glass have a short vowel or long vowel sound? Think and point.”

Students are told to point left/right while keeping their hand under their chin so I can make a quick assessment of who “gets it.”

You can also use hand signals under your chin for yes, no answers. I call it thumb/no thumb.

You might say something like, “Did I solve this math equation correctly? Thumb for yes, no thumb for no.”

The possibilities are endless…what do I need to do to solve this math problem? Make a plus sign if I should add or a minus sign under your chin if you think I should subtract….

Again, no sleepers, no one skating by. You will be making quick observations of what your kids know or don’t know.

I have one last management idea. In first grade, it is a HUGE deal to lose a tooth. 24 kids losing teeth throughout the year equals lots of interruptions to instructional time.

My first graders love to wear badges, they are so powerful! My friends take it very seriously to be whatever their badge title is. You can read more about these badges: {Table Captains Freebie HERE} and {Sight Word Detectives Freebie HERE}.

So I knew I had to make a badge to wear when one of my Shining Stars loses a tooth. They wear it proudly! But more importantly, they do not have to say A WORD, NOT A SINGLE WORD until I am ready. They just grab a badge from the basket and somehow they are pacified until we are ready to hear all about how they lost that tooth that has been hanging by the root and they have had their hands in their mouth playing with it for days! (BLECK!)

If you or your students are not the badge wearing type, you could do the same with these labels.
If you are interested in finding out more about these badges, labels and other celebration goodies to protect your instructional time, check out the {LOST TOOTH resource here.}

Thank you for stopping by and reading! I hope you got some new classroom management ideas 🙂

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