Friday, August 24, 2012

A Quiet, Straight Line IS Possible

I remember the first day of the first year I taught kindergarten. Mind you, I had just gotten done teaching 5th and 7th grades for 3 years and the only experience I had with groups of children who were 5 years old was, um, basically none. I had a love for children, I had a way with teaching and I thank the good lord above that the principal where I'd been teaching recognized that to give me a chance with the little ones. Anyway, we were leaving a very loud lunchroom and I was going to have a quiet line, one way or the other...I could do this. I wished I had a video of this moment because it would really come in handy during one of my classroom management presentations as a perfectly, comical way to NOT line up children (as I begged the children to stop talking, keep their hands off themselves and told them -can't believe I am going to tell you this- "We will not be leaving the cafeteria until you are all in a quiet line.") The advice that a kind, much more experienced onlooker watching me gave me was this: Just go, they will follow. Guess what? It worked...So, maybe they weren't quiet like I had wanted, but we all got back to the classroom in a timely fashion and the rest of the classes who were waiting for us to leave, got to go, too.
Although it wasn't perfect, as the years of experience have piled on, I have come up with an almost flawless way to march my 20+ kindergarten students through the halls in an organized, quiet fashion by the end of the first week of school. You don't believe it? Well, then listen here my friend and I will show you EXACTLY what I do.
It all starts with this cute, little monkey face that I make them practice like mad monkeys throughout the first day of school. (Don't worry, I phase them out of it by the end of the year 1st grade teachers!). They know my favorite animal is a monkey, so they all try to be the cutest (and quietest!) monkey they can be and it works like a charm. Their mouth is blown out (no talking!) and their hands are tied up by pulling out their ears (no hands on the walls or others!).
Next up? Stop signs! If you are like me, you are the only teacher with a long-winding monkey line. It is impossible to keep track of the front, middle and back of the line at once all by yourself, but, one way to make it easier is to create stopping points. Rather than saying (EVERY time you walk down the hall), "Stop at the corner." or "Stop next to the office," give your students visual cues to stop at the same places every time. They are called our Kindergarten Stop Points. This way, you never lose control of your long line.
I thought I'd share my signs with you so you can have Kindergarten Stopping Points, too! Who am I kidding? I had to create some new, cute-sified stop signs to use this year (haven't you heard the rumor resonating the net this summer? It states that the cuter your room and decor is, the easier your teaching job will be this year! Ha ha!). Hope this helps YOUR year be a little easier!

I made a few different styles of stop signs for you to hang in your hallways. The arrows are to tell them whether it is a stop for coming or a stop for going. Just laminate and hang them up at a few key stopping points between your classroom and your destination and PRAISE the line leader who remembers to stop. Swing on into Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business to grab your stop sign freebies.

8 comments:

  1. What great ideas - the monkey face and the stopping points along the way! This is really child friendly and fun - thank you for sharing!!
    Carla
    Playful Learning Brooklyn

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  2. Love this! I'm retired but this would have been great. I'm learning all the things I should have done now that there are so many wonderful bloggers sharing ideas. Thanks, Carolyn

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  3. You are so welcome and thank you Carla and Carolyn! I love to share things that work for me!
    Krissy Miner

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  4. I'm making vinyl stop signs and arrows for our cafeteria and hallways with my Cricut. Got permission (actually, the school is paying for the vinyl) from the principal to put them in-they go with PBIS-which is what our school uses.

    Theresa

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  5. What fun - and effective - ideas, Chrissy! Thanks so much for sharing your free printables! I pinned your post to my Back to School Board at http://pinterest.com/debchitwood/back-to-school/

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  6. I generally have one of the best hallway lines--if I do say so myself. :) But I think these signs are a wonderful, child-appealing visual. I will be printing and laminating. But I have a question. I don't quite get the arrows and the coming or going. Do you hang this on the walls? Sticking out from the corners?

    I'm thinking I might want to attach one to a yardstick and have my line leader hold it up when he/she stops as an alert to those in the line behind him (although I'm not sure how the arrow would work in that situation). My brain is beginning to churn with other possibilities.

    Thank you so much!

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