Saturday, May 31, 2014

15 Tips for Lining Up Your Class

Advice from Real Teachers

Each Wednesday at 8:30 pm EST, I post the Question Connection announcement on the Teaching Resources Facebook Page, and teachers ask questions to be shared with the fans of the page. Through the week, I choose a few to feature on Facebook each day, where you're invited to chime in with your advice. When I see a post that receives a large number of responses, I compile the best answers to create a helpful blog post.

Today’s Question

Today's question actually comes from me instead of from a Facebook fan! I remember the trials and tribulations of having to get kids in a line and out the door, quickly and in an orderly manner. So I asked “What strategies do you use for getting kids to line up in an orderly fashion when you are going to lunch or to a special class like art or music?”

Apparently I was not the only one with this problem because there were almost 150 responses! Many of the responses were similar, such as the "mystery walker" idea you'll read about below, but there were some really unique ones, too. I compiled 15 of the best responses in this blog post.

Here are the top 15 responses in no particular order. If you would like to read ALL of the responses, click this link to see them on Facebook.
  1. Jess Bowman:  We go into Ninja Stealth Mode. I explain to the kids that the best ninjas are quiet and never detected. We "sneak" past other classrooms along the way, not disturbing others. They love doing Ninja Stealth Mode. Any kids that get too excited and start making fight moves are reminded that a ninja is disciplined. If we happen to walk past someone in the hallway, I pretend that they can't see us moving because we are so stealthy.
  2. Jackie Hutslar: I choose a "mystery walker" each day. The kids don't know who it is until I reveal it at the end of the day. If that person has used good hallway procedure every time we traveled somewhere, he/she gets a treat like a skittle or sticker. If not, they don't get it. Since the students don't know who it is, they ALL have to follow procedures in case it's them!!
  3. Laura Grover: Best idea I heard that I actually use is this. I challenged my students to line up perfectly. Straight, eyes forward, no crowding, etc. I used my laptop camera to take a picture. Next, make an 8x10 color print. Mount on construction paper, laminate and attach a ruler for a handle. Now all I do is hold up the picture and say "I'm waiting for this." AND THEY DO IT!! In very little time, too. I have title 1 sixth graders which makes this all the more impressive. They have a visual of exactly what I expect. :-)
  4. Jillyn Theresa: Hands on hips, zip up lips, standing tall, ready for the hall! We walk down the hall with a hand on hip and the other finger on lips. I usually call them to line by table, ladies first, by birthday month, by color shirt, etcetera...
  5. Kathy McDonald: One student has a weekly job 'tapper.' If a student is wiggling or talking, the tapper taps their shoulder gently and they go to the back of the line. We don't leave the room until the tapper gives a thumbs up. If the same students end up at the back, i speak with them privately about expectations. If all goes well traveling, then the class can earn a marble. I teach 4th grade. They love it!
  6. Karen Brown: We line up using the 4S 's - Single file, (looking) Straight Ahead, Silent and Settled. At this time of year I can just hold up 4 fingers.
  7. Jamie Doffing: Three of my classroom jobs are line leader, door holder and caboose.  Every one else falls in line between those positions. I don't leave the room until I have a straight line, voices off and heads forward.  
  8. Magali Tuke: Mine line up but can be unfocused or chatty. I do an action eg make bunny ears, the whole class need to copy and most quickly do and the few chatters quickly realise it's all quiet and do it too. Fun to mix up the actions - hands on head, arms crossed, silly face, stick tongue out etc. If they are having a particularly bad day though they may have to sit down and try again to ensure all are quiet before we set off.
  9. Ana Duran: I play a freeze game. They have to follow me in a line and do whatever I tell them to do, in Spanish. When I say, parem, they all freeze. The kid who is out of the line has to go to the back of the line. They love this game plus it keeps them in line, and learning Spanish.
  10. Terra Hailey: I make fun of how sloppy it is and tell them I need to have a talk with their math teacher about their line...then they make me feel like an idiot because it's "actually a line segment..."
  11. Cheryl Hamm: We are students not grapes. We walk lines not bunches.
  12. Sarah Roach: Practice, practice, practice. We take for granted that kids will remember procedures, but taking time to have them line up, wait for quiet, and then walk. Sometimes we need to go back, but not often!  The kids do want to do well, and they do want to get to the fun class or recess!
  13. Barbara Wilkins: I used to use that opportunity to put them in line by various categories. I might put them in line by the first letter of their parent's names, the student's middle names, favorite foods, vacation destinations, etc.
  14. Chasity Sherrill: I always use something different every day!! Some example would be what months there birthday is, or line up if their favorite color is red, green, blue, etc. I also use clothing items like if they have on long sleeves, a jacket, jeans or shorts that day!! The kids love it and it helps them with self-awareness skills!
  15. Karen Young: Alpha by last name, alpha by first name, month of birth, table number (prime, composite, factors of x number, multiple of y number), rows, columns, how far they got on assignments, uniform colored shirts, if they love me, if they want to go home, LOL!
Do you have a favorite way of lining up your class or a tip to to share? Please post it in a comment below. If you would like to submit a teacher question, be sure to watch for the announcement on Wednesday evenings at 8:30 pm ET on the Teaching Resources Facebook page. Even if you don't have a question, please follow me on Facebook and offer your advice when you see the questions come through!

Great Questions + Advice from Real Teachers = The Question Connection! Enjoy!

25 comments:

  1. I really need to try some of these tips! I teach kids from 7 to 11 years old, and always have a really hard time trying to line them up...they are a mess! Thanks for the tips, I'll certainly try them!

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  2. I teach pre-schoolers (3 & $ years olds) When we get ready to line up to go outside or to the gym we sing this song: Hands to your side Hands to your side we goooo-ing outt-side. While singing the song the students tapping their sides. I sing the song twice until all 20 kids are in line. It works

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  3. Mine are given a number at the beginning of the year(1- how many ever students) ...they line up in numbered order, every day, no matter where we are :) they best be there before I start my count!

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  4. Christie, we have number order, too and it is a life saver. No arguing, no "cutting" and finding who is missing is SO easy. The line leader this week goes to the Caboose next week, so everyone gets a chance to lead and lag behind.

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  5. How about NOT lining them up like soldiers going to battle? I've been a teacher for 15 years and wasting energy and valuable teaching time ensuring that they are ducks in a row isn't teaching them about real life (unless you're training them for a career in the military). And I want them, more than anything, to be prepared for real world experiences. I expect my students to move politely and calmly from place to place, enter and exit spaces quietly, but I do not insist they line up perfectly spaced and in step. We should be focusing our attention on educating children to think for themselves and make good decisions, not "towing the line" and following the crowd.

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    1. I actually don't fully agree. I don't want a military classroom at all, but I do want them to build the ability to happily accept rules and leadership and standards set by others. Individuality is important, but so is self regulation and willingness to work with others - both peers and adults.

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    2. It's not just about being in a perfect line, it's about being respectful to other classes in session and people working. When a class of students walk by your room chatting and messing around it can disrupt your lesson and sometimes your entire day. That wastes someone else's valuable teaching and learning time.

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    3. I used to feel the same way, just having an expectation of good behavior. That has now changed that I'm in a classroom and teach along side 6 other 2nd gr classrooms. Our students see all of us at small group, lunch, recess, going home. They need to learn that boundary of respect and obedience.

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  6. I had a friend teach me this song: (Student's repeat after each line) "When it's time to get in line" "Line up fast and line up fine", "Put your face right straight ahead" "Hands to your side like Uncle Fred" (If they're not doing it right you substitute "Go back to your seats instead" and start over) "Line up", "Face Forward" "Voices Off" "Line UP!"

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  7. Boy, girl, boy, girl....cuts down on the talkers. I also have Class Dojo randomly pick a "mystery walker" each time we leave the room.

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  10. I teach mine buckles and bubbles. They buckle their hands together behind their backs and blow a bubble with their mouths. I do think it is very important to teach students to walk in a quiet respectful line. I worked with a teacher that just let hers go however and they always disrupted the learning in my classroom. My students would even get aggravated. I used those opportunities to remind them why it is so important for us to always be quiet in the halls. Thanks for all the great ideas!!

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  11. I use a timer- we started with 15 seconds and built up to 10 (we kind of have a large classroom so it works for us). I also post the timer on the board and count it down like minute to win it (10 seconds starts in 3, 2, 1). The students love the visual and it makes them accountable for their actions and they also tend to encourage the students who arent making good choices to see if they are can all do it in 10 seconds! Its great

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  12. I give out "complement points"
    Any time the class receives an UNSOLICITED complement from an adult on campus, (e.g., "WOW, kindergarten! What a great line!") the class receives a point. If they lose control and cheer and go nuts, they can lose the point. Three points earns a popcorn party. After the three point party, we go for five points and add a video to the party. After that, we go for ten points and add a pajama day.

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  13. I am a sub and once when I was subbing in a 2nd grade classroom, I was talking to them about how my son is in the Air Force. When it came time to line up, I said something like "Ok soldiers, line up quietly. That's an order." I was surprised at how they immediately lined up quietly. So I told them we were going to march quietly to the cafeteria, arms at their sides. They took it upon themselves to salute me when they walked past me! They loved it! I will definitely use that game again and I also love the one about the Ninja Stealth mode. I know the kids will love that one too!

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  14. I count down starting at 10. When my class is lined up and ready to go I stop counting. My class tries to see how high of a number we can get.

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  16. I cannot stand hearing, "he cutted!" There are always those students who want to push and shove to get to where they want to be in line. So this year, on the first day, I taught my first graders their number (which I assigned based on alphabetical order ). I had to put some extra time into lining up for the first week or so until they fignited out where they should go in the line, but now I can just say, get in your number order, and they do. I usually will call for the girls to line up, then the boys or vice versa. That seems to cut down on the noise. I never have to worry about anyone cutting in line and fighting over who cut and who was already there because I know exactly where they are supposed to be in the line. It has worked beautifully!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your idea, Mandi! You accidentally entered it twice so I deleted the other one.

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  17. With so many second graders in my class, we usually do ABC order. The following day, yesterday's leader is the caboose, and the next one leads. The second person in line is the door holder ONLY if they show they are ready, and the last student "gets the lights". If you missed your day to be line leader, that's life. You'll get the chance again when it's your turn. No "he cutted". I like the "tapper" idea too.

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  18. I use a race car game. Once all students are ready to begin the race, I call a student's name and student moves up in front of another. Ex Martin, in front of Wendy... Olivia in front of Tom...If they are wiggling, talking..then the student moves back. When we arrive at our destination, the first five are the winners of the hallway race. Works great with the primary grades.

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