Learning how to behave IN the classroom is one thing. Learning the proper procedures when leaving the classroom and walking in the hallway is another story! Read on for tips & tricks for keeping students (and yourself) sane when outside of the classroom.
Lining Up & Leaving the Room
Having students walk calmly in the hallway is a teacher’s dream. Below are amazing educator submitted classroom lining up and leaving ideas. One is bound to work for your class!
We love Velcro numbers for floor/whole group time spots. Space them out and change number spots as needed. They also work well for line order when lining up. No more, “So and so cut in line”. Alternate: Cricut vinyl spots.
1- stand up
2- push in chair
3- walk to line
Adjustment: Have all the student numbers on a ring by the door. Flip it to a new number each day to select a line leader. So instead of (3) “walk to line”, say “Bob walk to line”. Then students all follow in “desk order”. If a kid isn’t ready to line up (maybe still cleaning up or grabbing his coat), the person who lines up behind him/her just leaves a space for them. Works so great!!
Teacher Tips for Lining Up
- Play music to signal time to line up. Some favorites are the Mission Impossible theme (HA!) or other short songs.
- Have a line up chant. Example: Teacher: “All set?”, Students” “You Bet!”. When the teacher says, “All set?”, she/he walks to the door and turns out the lights. When the students say, “You Bet!”, they stand up and push their chairs in. Then, the teacher calls table numbers, or maybe the students have an order to line up in.
- Practice, Practice, Practice until it is routine.
Walking in the Hallway
It is important to teach procedures of walking in the hallway, too! Students need to know it is not a race. Try teaching these two simple steps, and practice them often!
- Stay in line.
- Walk calmly & quietly.
Choose a “Mystery Walker” – one kid you sneakily watch while in the hallway. No one knows who it is but you! When you get back to the room, if the child you were watching succeeds he/she gets a reward. If the child does not succeed, you never say who it was but the class knows if they misbehaved, they may have missed out.
Tip: drawing a popsicle stick (I write a student name on each one) is a great physical, nonverbal reminder that you have a mystery walker you are watching. The Mystery Walker also earns the class a bonus point so they get kudos from their peers, too.
Alternate idea: Before walking down the hall, put a number in your pocket. When you get back to the classroom, pull the number. If you never had to speak to that child about hallway behavior, he/she gets a piece of candy.
If you need ideas for the winning Mystery Walker, the gift tags from our Classroom Setup pack work great! This would require some preassemble work (maybe make up a batch in the beginning of the school year or each month) but would be SO loved by students. Using the editable tags, you can create any prize you want!
Play Game On – boys vs girls. When students are lined up and ready to transition to another room, say “game on”. Students know if they talk in the hallway, the other team gets a point. Keep a running total on the whiteboard. The team with the most points at the end of the week gets to choose a sucker from a jar. It never gets old and your class will receive compliments for their hallway behavior.
For any and all emergency drills use “safe, silent, serious”. In the hallways use “walking not talking”. It is important to practice where they will exit during a fire drill, or go during a tornado drill, several times so when the drill happens, there is not running, screaming chaos.
Be the caboose! Walking behind your class lets them know you are watching all the things going on in the hall! Also, at times it can be beneficial to put the louder students as the caboose. Tell them, “I really need help keeping our class in a nice hallway line. Could you help me watch the line from the back?” They will love their new job, and will hopefully walk respectfully.
If it is a possibility, have a sensory hallway for those times when students need to get the fidgets out! These can be made with a Cricut machine even!
Individual Students Leaving the Room
Now that we have covered navigating your whole class out the classroom door and down the hallway, let’s discuss how to lesson the interruptions/distractions when individual students need to leave the room.
1- Teach your students sign language! Establish signs (hand signals) for restroom, water fountain, need help, need a tissue, etc.“Thumbs up when you are ready” always works great too. You could teach students “R” for restroom, “W” for water, and “question mark” for question. With hand signals, you’ll immediately know what a kid needs without it interrupting the lesson.
2- Set up a bathroom buddy system for the boys and one for the girls. Basically, this is an object that kids place on their desks before they leave to use the bathroom. If the buddy is on someone’s desk, you have to wait until he is free before you go. The best part is that kids totally regulate this themselves. There aren’t groups of kids in the bathroom together and they don’t ask the teacher to go all day!
Bathroom buddy variations: individual sticks in a cup, bottle of hand sanitizer
3- When the whole class has to leave together, train kids to follow the 1-2-3 process:
- “1”…(kids know this means they make a snowball with their hands on their desk).
- “2”…(kids stand up silently push in their chairs and stand facing their desk with hands behind their back).
- “3”…(kids line up in abc order).
Classroom Procedures Series
Hopefully these lining up & hallway tips up your classroom management game! If you enjoyed this post, be sure to visit the other classroom management posts in this series:
Management of Whole & Small Groups