Okay & Obey
Children can often be sensitive to correction, even when it is just little things that don’t get them in trouble. To help them understand that an instruction is just that, and nothing to feel self-conscious about, use this letter to guide a conversation. Then, use these task cards to play a practice game. Hand the cards out to different students and tell them to do the item on the card at an inconvenient time. Then, read a book to the class or do an easy activity together. When someone “acts acting out,” gently ask them to stop. Their job is to say, “Okay,” then stop right away, and act like nothing ever happened. After the book or activity, talk about how there is nothing to get upset about when they do little things that need correcting. You are only giving them corrections so that the whole class can enjoy the activity to the fullest without distractions.
Use these on your classroom wall as a reminder for how to respond to corrections.
Help students remember which thoughts need to stay inside with these on your wall:
Chatty students? Try rewarding making it through a set amount of time with no chit chat with exactly what they want: a Chit Chat break. Use this as a slide on your board, or print and laminate it as a poster. You can give chit chat breaks before a lesson to help them get all their thoughts out, write numbers on clothespins to show how long the next chit chat break will be for the whole class (removing the largest number first, until 0 minutes are left), or put students’ names on clothespins to indicate who gets to participate in the next chit chat break, and remove them when they are talking during lessons.
One way to deal with students calling out is to let them know they will lose their next turn sharing if they don’t wait to be called on. Those who call out are usually the ones who most want to participate in discussions, so losing a turn can give them the needed motivation to use more self-control. Point to this sign as a silent way of letting a student know they have used their turn. If you have popsicle sticks with students’ names on them (or some similar system), take that child’s popsicle stick out of the bin when they call out.
How often has this happened? A child is making noise during quiet work time or when others are trying to present to the class or a group. You call out the student’s name and ask them to stop talking, squeaking their shoes, kicking their desk, etc. The student replies, “No, I wasn’t,” or even, “It was so-and-so,” followed by the other student arguing it wasn’t them and thus turning what should have been a short request into a long conversation or even argument. Instead, just say, “QP” for “quiet, please.” No names get mentioned, but the whole class is expected to check to make sure they are not doing something distracting.
Walking in the Hallway
Use this sign by your door to remind children of hallway walking rules. Have them repeat each line after you before exiting the classroom together. For younger grades, sing this call and response to the tune of the folk song, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt”:
We’re going in the hallway. We’re going in the hallway. (As children line up.)
We’re facing forward. We’re facing forward. (Motion forward with hands.)
Our hands are to ourselves. Our hands are to ourselves. (Fold hands or cross over chest like mummy.)
Our lips are closed. Our lips are closed. (Sung in a whisper, children purse their lips for the word “closed.”)
Sticky Note Solutions
Are students constantly asking irrelevant questions during a lesson that interrupt the flow of learning for others? Give each child a stack of sticky notes to keep at their desks for writing these questions on and sticking them to the front of their desks. Silently collect the notes and write or speak your answer at a more appropriate time. When introducing the practice, have students practice examples of questions that are off topic. Make sure they know that their sticky notes will be taken if they use them for passing notes or doodling. When students ask these questions aloud, just make a square with your fingers to silently indicate you want them to write it on their sticky note instead.
OR, print this banner onto ledger paper and put it at the top of a designated location where sticky notes can be left until you have time to answer their questions.
These Fruit of the Spirit group rules work great for a church children’s program or Christian School:
Here are some fun motivational posters to use in class: