photo 3am_dj_home_zps919fb85e.png photo 3am_dj_about_zps7cce4c75.png photo 3am_dj_website_zps73051235.png photo 3am_dj_ss_zps6759ec2a.png photo 3am_dj_bs_zps43e27832.png

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


I wonder if teachers realize how “yelling” or using a harsh voice really impacts students.  You could technically be a master teacher, but if you “yell” it certainly chips away at the positive image.  I was chatting with K.J. about school and teachers for the upcoming year.  His entire selection process was based on who “yelled.”  He wanted a certain teacher because, “He never yells.”  He didn’t want another teacher because “She yells all the time.” 

Of course, we all have times when we lose our cool and use a loud voice.  I know anyone who reads this blog is a super teacher, but we are also human.  I have a blog called “Shhhh!” in the archives that you might want to revisit.  Here are a few other tricks to keep up your sleeve as the school year begins.

If You’re Ready to Get Started (Leigh Ann Towater)
(Tune:  “If You’re Happy and You Know It”)
If you’re ready to get started say, I AM!  (Children say, “I am!”)
If you’re ready to get started say, I AM!  (Children say, “I am!”)
If you say that you’re not,
You’re going to miss out on a lot.
If you’re ready to get started say, I AM!  (Children say, “I am!)

Echo Chant  (Martha Edwards)
1, 2  (Students repeat each line.)
3, 4 
We’re not talking.
5, 6
7, 8
Standing quietly  (or lining up or sitting down, etc.)
Would be great.
9, 10
Let’s begin!

Hand Poem  (Barb Williams)
Hands up high.            (Hands in the air.)
Hands down low.            (Hands down.)
Hide those hands, now.   (Hands behind your back.)
Where did they go?    (Shrug shoulders.)
One hand up.              (Right hand up.)
The other hand, too.   (Left hand up.)
Clap them,            (Clap.)
Fold them,    (Fold in lap.)
Now we’re through!
*If children are wiggling their hands, ask them to please talk to their hands and tell them to be quiet.

Class Callbacks (Sara Quinn)
Teacher says:  Hands on top.  (Students put their hands on their heads.)
Students say:  That means stop!
Teacher says: Holy Moly!
Students say: Guacamole!
Teacher says: All set?
Students say: You bet!
*You can go on all day with callbacks.  Marco - Polo; Peanut Butter - jelly;  Criss cross – sit like a boss, etc.

I am looking.
What do I see?
I see (student, class) sitting (standing, whatever you need)
Hint!  Lower your voice each time you say this until children are quiet.

Hallway Trick  (Meghan Boyle)
Before going in the hallway say, “Hands on your hips.  Smile on your lips.”

Hallway Tip  (Stacey Keller)
“Zip” – pretend to zip your lips.
“Flip” – fold arms across your chest.
“We’re ready for the hallway trip.”

Self Control  (Becky Gilsdorf)
Use this visual cue to help children who are out of control.
Cross hands over your chest.  (Self)
Slide both hands down the sides of your body.  (Control)
As the child repeats the movements silently it will calm them down.

Hallway Hug (Jodi Spakes)
When children see friends in the hall teach them to do the hallway hug. 
You  (Hold up index finger.)
Me  (Hold up middle finger.)
Hello (Cross middle and index finger and wiggle.)

Air Hug  (Mary Katherine Ellis)
Open your arms as if giving a huge hug in the air.
*This is good for when students see a friend in the hall.
*This is also good when someone comes in or leaves the classroom and the kids want to jump up and give them a hug.

Problem Resolution (Carrie Thouvenot)
After students resolve a problem they can follow this routine:
            1st - Fist bump
            2nd - Hand shake
            3rd - High five
            4th - Hug
            5th - Walk away happy!

Mirror Talk
If children talk ugly to a friend, then tell them to go talk like that in the mirror and see how it feels.

You Know What to Do
Several years ago I heard an interview on NPR with the Teacher of the Year.  She said, “When a child is misbehaving, I stand next to her and quietly say, ‘You know what to do.’”  Physical proximity – just getting close – can be a powerful tool. 

A friend who teaches 3rd grade said, “I’ll stand next to the child who is misbehaving and say, ‘Am I going to have to kiss you or what?’”  Instead of escalating the problem they end up laughing.  Now, that won’t work with a 5 year old, but sometimes humor can be magic.

Hint!  Run off these ideas and glue them to index cards.  Keep them in your pocket or tape them to a classroom wall for a quick reminder.

P.S.  K.J.'s first day of school was yesterday and he was sooo excited!!!  Every time his class is "good" they get a letter to spell out "recess."  When they spell out the word they get an extra recess.  If they get 25 recesses they get to shave the teacher's head at the end of the year.  You would think the teacher had promised them a trip to Disney World!  This is a reminder to look at the world through children's eyes.  We may believe that reading, writing, and math are what school is all about, but they view things differently.  Those 3rd graders are going to work together to do this, they are going to develop the executive function, and they are going to have FUN!!!  It's the little things in life, isn't it?