Good behavior management for the student line up is critical to keep your students from interfering with the learning of other classes. Left to themselves, kids will become a thundering herd moving from point A to point B sweeping everything in their path.
This is not good for the school's learning atmosphere, not good for discipline and not good for safety.
Lining up: getting your ducks in a row
“Please quietly push in your chair and line up for recess.”
We begin practicing this on the first day. Model every detail of the entire process:
- How to push chair back quietly
- How to get up and push chair in quietly
- How to walk quietly to the line-up area
- How to stand quietly
Then have them practice. And practice again. And again. And…yes…again. If they don't do it right, they all sit down and start over. Classroom behavior management for the student line up is something that you will be practicing a lot for the first few weeks of school (and then again during the last few weeks as the excitement level increases).
Make it a challenge
Kids respond very well to a challenge. Download a countdown timer for your computer to project on a screen, find one one YouTube, or – even easier – put your cell phone under your document projector and use the timer on that.
Projecting the timer on a screen helps them all invest in the process and gauge their own progress. See how quickly they can quietly line up… then challenge them to beat their time.
Cutting in line
Next, you will deal with the inevitable outcry:
He cut me!
After calmly explaining that cutting the line is rude, you will need to get to the real issue:
“Are we all going to the same place?” – Yes
“Is there a prize for getting to the gym first?” – No
“Is there a penalty for getting to the gym last?” – No
“Then forget about it and stop tattling.”
And repeat… over and over. Eventually, when I hear:
“He cut me!
I respond with mock alarm:
“Are you bleeding? Where did he cut you? Should I call 9-1-1?”
Walking the Line
After the ordeal of lining up is past, explain your expectations for moving through the halls:
- Hands down so we aren't touching other people or things that don't belong to us. Also, no dragging hands on hallway walls (soooo germy).
- Facing forward to see where we're going and don't trip on the person ahead
- Voices off. Not quiet…off
For younger kids, who simply must touch everything or everyone around them, teaching them to “lock their thumbs” (grab hold of their thumbs either in front of or behind them) is a great behavior management strategy…and don't hesitate to use it if your older kids can't control their impulses, either.
And again – if they don't get it right, march them all the way back to the starting point (whether it is their chairs or the playground) and start over.
Video: Insights on the student line up
If you hear a compliment about your students' line behavior, make a huge deal when you get back to the classroom:
“Oh my gosh, Ms. Ramirez noticed what a great job you were doing in the line! I'm very proud of how hard you were working on meeting line expectations.”
This level of classroom management may seem like a lot of effort over a student line up and walking from one part of the building to another, but consider this: every moment counts.
Efficient movement cuts down on unproductive time, so not only do we keep from interfering with the learning of other students, we gain a few precious minutes every day for working that extra math problem or reading that extra paragraph.
As I said above, every moment counts. Invest the necessary time to keep the lining up process from wasting valuable education time.