If you lead a group of kids anywhere, they usually walk in clumps. This is fine if we’re trekking about on a field trip or headed out to the playground, but when we need to go from point A to point B in an efficient, orderly way, we need lines.
I always liked my students to be in nice, straight lines, but it wasn’t until my coworker Rachel shared her simple and brilliant idea with me that I happily and easily achieved it. She’s also the one who first shared her own graduated system of consequences with me when I first started out teaching! (THANKS, RACHEL! =D).
5 Reasons to walk in straight lines:
How to do it
Okay, you’re thinking, straight lines are nice, and my kids are mostly straight… most of the time. I don’t care that much about straight lines, so unless you have a really simple and straightforward idea…
I do! Rachel did! Basically, it’s “Line Tag.”
Step 1: Watch the kids as they walk in line. If anyone steps out of line, point to them and lightheartedly say, “Tag, you’re out!”
Step 2: The student that was “tagged” goes to the back of the line.
That’s it. It’s not a “you’re in trouble” kind of thing. It’s just a lighthearted, fun little game that also happens to keep your students in line. The way it usually happens for me is this: I do my cool teacher-walking-backwards-while-watching-the-class thing,* and if anyone steps out of line, I point to them, smile apologetically, and say, “Tag, you’re out.” The student points to himself in disbelief, mouthing, “ME?!” I nod an exaggeratedly sympathetic yes, and he walks to the back of the line. The other kids suppress their giggles, straighten up like little soldiers, and we carry on.
Of course some kids will play around and step out of line on purpose, just for fun. But that gets old pretty quickly and stops. If it doesn’t, a small side-chat is all it takes, “Okay it was funny the first time, but you know the whole point of this is for the class to walk in a straight line. Are you helping that?”
And that’s it. Sometimes I play around with the class and walk facing forward, acting like I’ve totally forgotten about this “game,” and then suddenly whirl around and “tag” 2-3 people out. The rest of the class gets a kick out of it, and my class is straight as a ruler as we proceed to our final destination.
Easy peasy! And it’s a simple way to spice up a boring ‘ol walk to the cafeteria, too. Try it out as you start off this new school year! The beginning is the best time to introduce this fun and simple game.
*It’s only cool if you don’t turn around and run face-first into a pole, like I did on my first day of teaching. The whole class could hear the pole vibrating, and I can still see FW and AA literally ROFL at me. #rookieteacherfail
P.S. Monday (tomorrow) is the last day to enter the Math Menu giveaway! 🙂