Posts Tagged ‘Procedures’

Seat Signals

Seat Signals are a clever way to keep the classroom pace ticking along smoothly and students focused with minimal distractions. Unfortunately, junior high kiddos aren’t exactly low-key with their needs, so it is important to create very low-key ways to take care of business and continue with the learning.

Raised Hand

Seat Signals- nonverbal ways students indicate to the teacher they need something without getting up from their desks.

  • Bathroom Visits- raise hand with hall pass out on desk to be signed.
  • Pencil Sharpening- hold up pencil in raised hand. Wait for teacher to visit desk and switch out student’s pencil for a sharpened one. Keep lots of sharpened pencils on hand. They can pick their pencil up at the end of class.
  • Tissue- raise hand and pinch nose with other hand.
  • Library Visits- hold up book in raised hand with hall pass out on desk to be signed.

All of these nonverbal requests should also be responded to nonverbally- either a nod of a head indicating a “yes,” a pencil or tissue handed to the student, or a hand signaling, “not now” or “in 5 minutes.”

You might be wondering why sharpen the pencils for the students…well, pencil sharpening is a loud and time consuming process. The sharpener in my class is attached rather high on a bookcase and its screws are loose so the whole thing wobbles. Naturally, the short kid without a steady arm gets a junk pencil every time. I’m just going to take it down and buy an electric sharpener for my desk, just for me to use!

Notice that for trips outside the classroom, the students have hall passes which must be signed. They receive these passes at the beginning of the year- 3 for each week. Once they use them, it’s too bad, so sad. This is a school-wide technique and I really love it. The students must learn to conserve passes and not use them all up on Monday. If your school doesn’t do something like this, try initiating it on your own! It’s very clear-cut and there is no ground for confusion.

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Movement for Learning

They say you never forget how to ride a bike. The thing is…it’s true! Once you do something, it goes into your procedural memory and pretty much stays there. Moving around or acting things out ends up being a great way to remember all kinds of things.

That’s why I’d highly encourage you to try and find ways to incorporate movement into the classroom. I know my college professors always told me this, but secretly in my head I was picturing 32 kids running around the room driving me bonkers. Naturally, I didn’t do much movement at all this past year.

However, if you plan out the movement and you keep it focused and short, there shouldn’t be any crazy scenarios like the one that ran through my head. Students can simply stand up, right next to their desks. The movement can only be in their arms. Make it what will work for your non-chaotic classroom.

Pat your head

Here is a nifty example:

Parts of the Friendly Letter with Movements

  1. Heading- pat your head
  2. Greeting- wave
  3. Body- shake your shoulders and body
  4. Closing- stomp your feet
  5. Signature- sign your name in the air

Once students start acting out the information, it really will become knowledge that stays in their heads. Try to think about little ways and also ask your colleagues! A teacher in my department has her students bounce up and down like bunnies when going over why it’s important to stay on topic in your writing- you don’t want to be hopping all over the place like a rabbit with your thoughts.

Remember, the first step to doing something is to visualize it. The same thing can be said for learning!

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