I would love some ideas to keep the kids quiet but not "soldiers" in lines while waiting for children to finish using the restroom, waiting for a special's class to finish, etc. Right now the popular game at my school is the "Eye Spy Quiet" game. This is where a child looks for another child standing in line quietly, then taps him/her on the shoulder and they switch places.
Another game we play is "Strike a Pose." This is where a child is it and he/she says, "1, 2, 3 Strike a Pose." The rest of the class in line, makes a silly pose. The pose the "it" person likes the best gets to be the next "it."
A new one I learned just yesterday from a little boy who is new to the school is called "Quiet Water." The "it" moves his/her hands up and down like he/she is doggy-paddling. The other children doggy-paddle with him. When the "it" person stops...the other children are supposed to stop too. As long as they stop and are quiet, the it person will choose another person to lead.
So, do any of you have any other quiet activities I can do with my class while I monitor the line and both the bathrooms?
My idea isn't half as creative as the ones you shared, but here it is:
I talk to the kids before we leave for the bathroom about "watching the tv in their heads." We talk about thinking about something you want to think about and share ideas. Basically, I'm just asking them to daydream for a while, but when would be a better time than when you're just waiting in line?
While we're out, I'll ask them to "find their channel" or "think of something to watch in your head." They may just be thinking about how crazy their teacher seems to be, but it does help. You can follow up with a discussion and have volunteers share things they were thinking about if there is time/interest. That can help some of the ones having trouble get the hang of it a little better.
I have my first graders practice their alphabet using the sign language alphabet. After we start our spelling lists, I like to use the sign language to practice spelling words. I give a word and then have the students copy me while I quietly say and show the letters. Later in the year, I sometimes "spell" words and have them guess what I am spelling.
We count up to 100 quietly as we do 10 of an activity, hop on one foot,11-20, hop on 2,21-30 jumping jacks, touch toes... Whatever I can think of or I get the kids to model! We're an Action School and if they're having the chance to run on the spot, they're less likely to act silly.
I take a ring of high frequency words or words using our phonic element for the week out to the hall. While children are waiting I quickly have each of them read a word. I am boring but our school was criticized for bathroom breaks taking up too much instructional time!
I try and do phonemic awareness activities or math facts.
For the phonemic awareness I do things like "What's a neck without the /n/?" and they would whisper "eck!".
For math fact, I pose a fact to them, put my hand in the air for think time and when I put my hand down they whisper the answer. They LOVE this one, but it can get a little noisy because they get so excited!
Its for after school programs, but its caalled "Ready, Set, Go!" Its a book all about transitions and games you can play to keep the kids busy while you wait.
I usually play Quick Draw (wish I could explain it to you but its WAY complicated!!) or we play a game of Copy Cat where the kids have to Copy some kind of clapping or snapping pattern that I do. The pattern they repeat has to be absolutely perfect!! The kids have to start together and finish together. However they have to beat me. The first to 10 gets a prize (usually I tell them if they win I give them 15 minutes play time extra but if I win I cut their play time--Usually I win but we go double or nothing). I play this with 120 students at a time and my kiddos actually do a very good job with EVERYONE (K-4) paying so close attention that they get it exactly right.
Sometimes we play "Guess the Rule" while waiting in line. Students know they have to play quietly so they don't disturb other classrooms. "It" calls students, one at a time, who fit their chosen criteria. The chosen students stand facing the line until someone in line raises their hand to guess the "rule". (i.e. rules: Students must be wearing . . . tennis shoes / red / glasses / skirts etc. or Students have . . . blonde hair / brown eyes / pockets / pig tails / freckles / etc.) If there is time, the guesser becomes the new "it" and secretly decides the next rule.
I have also played "I Spy a Blend" with first graders. I start by telling students that I spy something that starts with the blend _____ . I say the sound of the blend and then ask them what 2 letters make that sound. Then I tell them to look for things that start with that blend. I call on raised hands and reinforce the blend in each guess until the right blend is found. (This might be tricky in a bland hallway, but ours usually offers some possibilities with bulletin boards and other surrounding decor.) Things I sometimes "spy": tree, frame, bricks, floor, brown, green, blue, black, train, globe, flag, braids, tracks, triangle, skirt, flowers, flip flops, etc.
Thanks to the other posters for sharing their good ideas. I will have to "borrow" the rhyming game where students are challenged to change one sound in a word. Sounds interesting and fun!