Thursday, August 15, 2013

Teacher Week '13 - Taming the Wild! Classroom Management

Hi, all!  Happy Thursday!  Classroom Management is one of my favorite parts of teaching.  I love making my class feel like a happy family!  One of the biggest ways that I get my classroom running smoothly, calmly, and on-task early in the year is by establishing clear routines and using sign language.  I like to address behaviors (or even better, head them off before they occur) quietly - without drawing attention or interrupting the other students.  I'm one of those teachers who will start talking really quietly instead of really loudly so that the kids quiet down to hear what I'm saying.  I am like the queen of nonverbal cues lol.  (Lots of positives, too, like winks or thumbs up or mussing a kid's hair... nicely, of course!).

Sign language is not a part of my curriculum, but I throw it in for a number of reasons. I took a sign language class in college and was fascinated. Then I did a school placement at a regular elementary school in a deaf inclusion class. A teacher of the deaf came in a few times a week to work with the entire class, which was really neat. I learned so much and the kids were like sponges.
Above my SMARTboard, you can sort of make out my old sign language alphabet.
Sorry the pic is not close up or very clear, I'm away and this is a pic I had on my computer!
In my own classroom, I use a lot of sign language simply because it cuts down on noise and distraction. Our quiet signal is a sign language "r" (for respect) - anyone in the class can give it and everyone has to be quiet and return the sign. The idea is that the classroom belongs to all of us and if someone is feeling distracted by noise, we all need to respect that.  The kids are great about it.
I also use the "t" for toilet (you make the sign and shake it back and forth, which is the actual sign for needing to use the restroom) so that my kids can ask to go without even using words, if I see them holding up the sign, I just nod at them and point to the door.

I use sign language not only for management, but also for another way of practicing sight words and spelling words, and even, when my kids know enough to "read" my fingers, I use it to play silent games during our (sometimes very long) lockdown drills, it keeps the kids quiet, focused, and lessens the anxiety.  Anyway, I really wanted to update my sign language alphabet, so I just created this new set.  The office might just kill me for bringing in more things to laminate, but I really like them!  I posted them in my TpT store with the decorative bows at the bottom and then someone asked for a set without the bows, so I have posted that set as well.

Click on either cover page to find them in my TpT store.

 What are your favorite ways to tame the wild things? :)
post signature


  1. What a great idea. Thanks for sharing. I am going to try to incorporate sign language into my classroom too.

    The Very Busy Classroom

  2. I love it! I don't even think about it anymore, the signs come very naturally after a while! :) Good luck!


  3. Great idea! My sister taught my daughter some sign language and it's amazing how even the youngest and littlest of people can understand and communicate with you!

    1, 2, Eyes On You!


Speak to me! :)