One of my passions as a teacher has always been finding and implementing new classroom management strategies! Having anywhere from 20-36 students (depending on my grade level) made it necessary to have strong, positive communication tools in place, to help maximize every minute of instructional time. So today, I want to share with you three classroom communication tools that I have had great success with, and will hopefully help you in your classroom, too.
The first communication tool that I LOVE, and that has saved me tons of interruptions, are these Hand Signal Posters. These posters are finger signs 0-5, all communicating a different message from the student to me. This way, if I was in the middle of a lesson, working with a small group, or helping an individual child, a student could hold up their fingers and I could quickly see what the student needed to communicate with me. These posters are perfect to display at the front of the class (above the whiteboard) for a quick and easy reference for students. Such a BIG TIME-SAVER!
Another tool that is so handy when working with a small group is the STOP sign. It seemed like as soon as I would sit down to work with a group of students, five other students would raise their hands with questions. So, I taught my students that if I had my STOP sign on display, then they needed to ask three other students in the class their question before interrupting my small group and asking me. Four out of five times this worked like a charm!
Majority of my student interruptions during small groups were from students asking me, “How do I spell _____?” So my solution to that problem was to implement personal Student Dictionaries. Every student would keep their own dictionary at their desk, which includes over 300 pre-printed words. There are also lines for students to add in words, so this way, they could ask three other friends in the class how to spell the word, and not interrupt me during group time. Love the independence this created!
Now, back to the STOP sign for all of those other interruptions…My favorite way to display the stop sign is in a clear, stand-up sign holder shown below on the left. Although, you could also use a picture frame (pictured below on the right), or even just laminate the sign and pop some magnetic tape on the back to display it on the whiteboard. There are so many options and I have included two different sizes of this stop sign which you can grab here!
The best part about Silent Response Cards are that they can be used during language arts, math, science, social studies, test prep, and class games. This is also a quick assessment tool, because based on the colors being held up, it is easy to spot which students are and are not understanding a concept.
Thanks for reading and I hope you find these freebies useful in your classroom!