Recorder Karate Idea Bank

Silent Signals For Classroom Management

Submitted by Stephanie Menefee, Tacoma, Washington

Idea posted 2003-07-08

I have developed a points system in my room (they have to have more points than me in order to get a sticker), so all I have to do is stand at the front of the room with my clipboard and pen in hand, ready to mark points. That (with a few "Shhhh! She's giving points!") gets them quiet real quick.

With recorders, I put my hand up for silence when everyone is playing and practicing the same piece. The students also know that I give lots of "silent directions" that they are supposed to follow, like putting the recorder up to my chin, down in my lap, et cetera.

I also have the students echo me one, two, three, or four measures at a time, which I show on my fingers but don't say with my voice. Some of them are still trying to figure out what that means, but most get it.

"The Look" is also very effective with kids as a way of saying, "Change your choices, please," followed by a nod and a smile when they do to say, "Thank you."

My "ready" sign is putting both hands on my head; which the kids are supposed to mimic, with their eyes on me. If we are dancing and I do this, they know to also sit down.

If the kids are supposed to be sitting crisscross and one is not, I will cross my pointer fingers a couple of times.

During listening, I encourage students to follow with their eyes, ears, fingers (tracking the words if they have a book or words in front of them), and mouths - but no voices. I point to each part of the face, nodding on eyes, ears, and mouth but tracing an "X" over my vocal chords and shaking my head, "no." Again, it can take several times for kids to get this. When I want them to start singing, I point to my throat and nod and smile.

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