Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fast Pass and Secret Person: How To Stand In Line

Standing in a line is such a huge deal for first graders. Seriously. Like, as important as what superhero is on the backpack. Or what flavor cupcakes to bring to the monthly birthday celebration. Or who to sit by at lunch. Like, that serious.

So when my students are standing in line and not able to function at a first grade level, I've had to come up with tricks. Here is a list of my "Fix-Its":

  • H.A.L.L.S.: At the last school I worked at, we had the acronym HALLS which stands for Hands at your side; All eyes forward; Lips sealed; Low speed; Space. I've carried that with me to my current school. As students are lining up, I say, "Show me HALLS" and then repeat what each one stands for. Most are able to show me HALLS with just saying HALLS. Some still need the reminders.
  • Caboose: To curb some of the "I-don't-want-to-be-in-back" issues, I created a job called "Caboose". The caboose's job is to be at the end of the line. They are also in charge of closing the door as we all leave.
  • Fast Pass: I get much better results focusing on the positive. When I see a student doing a good job, I'll say  "_____, you may have a fast pass." This bumps them to the front of the line behind the line leader. I've been known to give 2-3 fast passes in a row and that usually gets everyone's attention.
  • Secret Person: I tell the students, "I'm looking for a secret person. I will think of someone in our class and if they are able to walk all the way from _____ to _____ with zero noise, and showing HALLS, they will earn 2 points for their team. I will not tell you who the secret person is unless they do a good job. I hope it's you!" It's amazing how well this one works. I've even upped it to 5 points and a clip up for the secret person. If the person who I'm secretly monitoring doesn't live up to the expectations, I don't reveal who it was because the class gets angry at the student (I made this mistake the very first time I did that).
  • Cutting in Line: Cutting, or more commonly known as "He cut me!", is annoying for everyone. So my simple fix it? If you complain about cutting, you go to the end of the line with the person who cut. I don't like tattling, and I don't like dishonesty, so they both deserve to be at the end of the line. 
  • Getting out of Line: If a student gets out of line for whatever reason, they lose their spot. If I ask them to get something for me, they may have their spot back. My reasoning? If you did it right the first time, and remembered your sweater/homework/backpack/lunch, etc., you wouldn't have to do it over again. Next time, remember to get it before you get in line.
  • Running: You run? You walk...to the end of the line. And don't stand there waiting for the line to reach you, either. Not gonna fly with me. You walk to the end of the line. Do it right the first time, and you won't have to waste time doing it over.
If you have any helpful tips/tricks about standing in line, I'd LOVE to hear them and try them out. I'm always looking for fresh ideas to keep my kiddos engaged!