Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Settling In--Favorite Routines

Day 7 of school is completed, and let me tell you...it has been a whirlwind! We're all settling in to a new grade level (myself included), and I have to say I LOVE fifth grade! It's been such a great experience to see how my kiddos have grown and matured over the summer, and I also enjoy learning new curriculum. (Yes, really).

I know many of you haven't yet started school so I wanted to share some of my favorite routines with you...Many of these are old favorites, but some of these I literally didn't learn until two nights before school started and I've implemented them easily. I knew I wanted to integrate more signals and group responses into my teaching and went searching. Here's my list of favorites:

Attention Signals:

  • Class/Yes (Teacher says "Class?" and students stop what they're doing, turn to teacher and reply "Yes?") I try and vary the way I say it.
  • Did you know there's a student response to the old "1, 2, 3, eyes on me?" I didn't until I watched a video the other day. Who knew? The students stop, turn, and look at the teacher and reply "1, 2, eyes on you!" I love it!
  • Super Scholar Style: I think this came from one of the videos below. When I say "Super Scholar Style" students sit up straight, clap twice, turn to look, and rest their hands on their desks or in their laps.
Hallway: "1, 2, 0" One line, Second tile, Zero talking. This is actually from a good teacher friend of mine from another school. There was a school rule there that required students to walk in a straight line on the third tile from the wall. The rule there was 1, 3, 0. At my new school, the hallways are a little more narrow so I changed it to "1, 2, 0." I love this procedure because it gives the students specific guidelines and visual reminders.

Restroom Sign-Outs: I used to use silent signals for restroom and water, but a few years ago I implemented a sign-out sheet. It's just a three-column chart labeled "Time Out, Name, Time In." Students are taught that they may sign the sheet and leave the room to go to the restroom as needed as long as I'm not directly teaching them. (For emergencies they just go!) They're expected to use our regular class restroom breaks, and use the sign out sheet sparingly. I've never had to say anything to them about overuse because they know it is a privilege. Our class restroom breaks are any time we are outside the room as a group: To and from PE, to and from lunch, to and from computer lab.We don't necessarily all line up and wait at the restroom during all of those times. If a child needs to go, they just get out of our line, go to the restroom, and join us when they're finished.

Hand Signals: This is one I've done for years for oral group responses. I say the question, hold my finger next to my temple (think time), then bring it down palm-up in front of me. When the hand comes down all children respond orally. Here are a few new ones I've incorporated this year. I absolutely love these signals! We've incorporated every one except for the "complete sentences" signal because I haven't had a need for that reminder yet and the "unsure" signal. This video is pretty amazing and details silent hand signals:

Whole Brain Teaching: Okay, this is not new for me, but I HAD to add it to the list because I use at least the Class/Yes routine and the scoreboard every year. This year, I'm hoping to add the multiplication practice portion.

Morning Meeting: Here's another favorite I've been doing for years, but the way I'm doing it this year has changed thanks another fabulous video from Mrs. Noonan:

Do you have a favorite? Maybe one of these above is a favorite of yous? 


  1. My go to attention getter is a clapping pattern. Under my former principal it was a whole school thing. I've been thinking about switching to Class/Yes for a couple years and your post might just push me to do it (one of the third grade teachers does it so I'd have to train myself more than them!)

    Also, I started a fun attention release (for lack of a better term) last year. You know how kids will start taking out their books when you're mid-sentence and no one can hear. So I'll say, "Not yet, but when I say [silly word] I want you to take out your books, turn to page 5, and read the captions. *Dramatic pause* [silly word]." They pay really close attention because they want to hear you say that random word again!

  2. I had totally forgotten about the clapping pattern. I'm so glad you commented and mentioned it! I want to add that to my repertoire.

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