Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hand Signals

Today's Whatever Wednesday Topic is: Hand Signals

Also known as, "I've eliminated the need for you to interrupt me" signs!

Which is a nicer way to say, "LEAVE ME THE HECK ALONE CAN'T YOU SEE I'M TEACHING HERE."

These cards hang above my door.  I printed the hands from the Discovery Kids website and added my own words to show what they mean underneath.  Here's how things go down in my room.

If I am reading to the class or in the midst of a lesson, they are instructed not to request a beverage and should only ask to pee if the alternative to leaving the room would be a puddle on the floor.

That probably sounds harsh so I will add that my lessons rarely last more than 10 minutes so it's not as if I am putting anyone at risk for a bladder infection.  In the event of a true emergency, they are able to get up, sign "bathroom"  and run just as fast as anyone doing the infamous pee-pee dance can possibly run.  Only once has any child ever used the emergency potty exit sign during a lesson.

They are allowed to get up at anytime for a tissue.

When I am not reading or doing direct instruction, the class utilizes the hand signals shown in the photo above.  They hold up the signal and watch for me to make eye contact with them and nod.

1=I need to use the bathroom.
2=I have a question.
3=I need to trade/sharpen my pencil.
4=I would like a drink.
5=The quiet sign

Next year I'm going to flip flop 2 and 5.
I used to do a thing where I would say, "give me 5" to get their attention.  This sort of went with it, but now seems random.

These signals are ideal when I'm working 1:1 or in a small group.  They are also great in a crowd situation such as an assembly.

This falls into the, "I promise you will love it!" catalog of ideas for classroom management.

8 comments:

Jakeandjess said...

I've used similar hand signals (1=bathroom, 2=tissue, 3=water, 4= sharpen pencil, 5= have a question) for the past 3 years and they have worked FABULOUSLY! I really love the cute clip art that you have along with the sign...what a great way to let the substitute or anyone else in your room know what to do in your absence. Thanks for the resource!

Marlene said...

I love the cute clip art. I feel like I would forget which finger is for which situation and have to look up at the signs all the time. Did you have this problem?

Littlest Learners said...

JakeandJess: Thanks for the comment. I like that you use a sign for tissue. I think I'll ditch the "quiet" sign and add in tissue for next year. I had told them that they could get a tissue without asking, but friends tended to frequently get the sniffles at the exact same time. :)

Marlene: It doesn't take long to get to get used to. I introduce them on the first day and we practice. Everyone catches on quick. I do like having the handy dandy visual on the wall though. It helps for parent volunteers, subs, support staff, etc. Try it out. I'm sure you'll like the system.

teachermomof2 said...

Love this idea! Thanks for sharing...I'm going to use it this year.

Lisa

Amy said...

I know this is an older post.. BUT.. DO you think this would work in a Pre-K classroom? Just thinking out "loud".

Anonymous said...

I've seen this done with preschoolers and kindergarteners. They love it. It like a secret message.

eager2teach said...

I have followed your blog for quite a while now, but only recently have taken the time to browse all of the AWESOME posts on organization and practical tips for management. I will be teaching kindergarten next year and am trying to soak up as many tips as I can for working with the little ones. Thanks so much for sharing such incredible ideas...they will definitely be put to use upcoming school year!!

eager2teach said...

I have followed your blog for quite a while now, but only recently have taken the time to browse all of the AWESOME posts on organization and practical tips for management. I will be teaching kindergarten next year and am trying to soak up as many tips as I can for working with the little ones. Thanks so much for sharing such incredible ideas...they will definitely be put to use upcoming school year!!