I feel like I have been saying the same thing since day 1. "Straight Quiet Line" - but they still can't understand it. Are there any magic words that I'm not using that gets through to fourth graders when they need to line up quickly and quietly?
Sometimes if they are really quiet I give them a scoop of beans into their reward jar. When the jar is full, they get to invite a friend from another class to eat lunch in the room with me. We did girls one week, boys the next. It really went quite well.
I agree, you would think that by April they would know to stand quietly in line.
Mine have gotten into the habit of being "pokey" about lining up. I sometimes get a timer and make a game of seeing how quickly and quietly they can line up. If they do it in less than 20 seconds, they get a scoop of beans. (bulk pinto beans - they're cheap).
Good luck! I'm open to suggestions if anyone can think of something marvelous!
I'm a first year teacher and have much to learn, but one thing that I have down is classroom management. I have the students get into two lines because it makes the line shorter and easier for me to manage. If the students can't get from point A to point B the way I expect them to (quietly with their hand to their sides) we go back to the classroom ( no matter how close we are to our destination or how late we are) and start over. They hate doing that. Obviously I did that many times at the begining of the school year. At this point I don't have to do that anymore. They even get compliments on what a good class they are in the hall ways. The important part is to stick to it until they get it and no matter how minor the disruption go back.
When my class hears "find a square (i.e. tile) and do a hair stare" they instantly get in line. Our tiles at school are perfect for their feet size and we line up on a square and stare at the hair in front of us. Line leader gets to choose "the tile" and then the others follow suit. We get tons of compliments in the hallway because of our straight lines (I HATE snakey lines!!!) and how we do not turn around and chat, etc. We also use "hallway hands" which means we walk down the hall with hands clasped behind our backs.
I, too, am that "firm not mean" teacher. The key to all classroom management is "Stick to it'tiveness"--consistency with discipline in all situations! At the beginning of the year I "teach" students how they are to move about the room, school, etc. along with my discipline plan, classroom procedures, etc. We model examples and practice moving through the school. Then we stick to the standard and have consequences for disruption or inappropriate behavior, etc. If they don't line up in the classroom appropriately, we sit back down until we get it right. If we don't walk appropriately, we return to the classroom and start over. It doesn't take long for students to get the point that I mean what I say and I stick to it. We, too, get complimented every day on our behavior and demeanor in the hallway. You should see how proud the students are each time they get a compliment (this earns points toward a classroom party of their choice, too)
For MissC12 --
This year I have a group of students whose lunchroom demeanor and conversation volume was unsatisfactory (high volume, shouting across tables, not cleaning up for themselves, moving more than once, etc.) So I informed them that if they acted inappropriately in the cafeteria, they would have an assigned seat --where I wanted them to sit (usually boy's row, girl's row, ABC order, boy-girl, etc. ) and would lose the privilege of sitting with friends. I've only had to do this once or twice this year with about four students. Say what you mean, mean what you say, and follow through consistently!! Stick to your discipline plan! Have a consequence for not following your instructions!
I also will say "30 seconds" which means they have 30 seconds to get into a proper line. If they are lined up poorly I start counting on my watch. We add the seconds up on the board before recess. We stand that long before recess and I do not add the time onto the other end of recess. I only have to do this a few times....and then saying thirty seconds and looking at my watch is all that it takes.
In my building, we must be on-time to specials, recess, lunch, etc. So, often, going back to the room or sitting back down simply isn't an option. What I've started doing is that kids who are not "safe, straight, and silent" in line, have to walk behind me going down the hallway and be my shadow. (Sooooo embarrassing for them!) It also means that they are the last ones to get to go to lunch or recess or specials.
I have a zero tolerance policy - by now they know the expectations and shouldn't need a warning or reminder. So, the first instance of the day they leave the line and walk behind me on just that trip. If there is another instance that day, then they get to be my shadow for the rest of the day.
One other management tip is to train students to stop at corners as you walk down the hall. Then, as the class turns the corner YOU stay at the corner so that you can see/hear all students in the line. I've noticed that teachers who lead their lines often have chaos at the back when kids know they are out of sight.
Works like a charm...