Tuesday, July 26, 2011

To Do Tuesday: Hand Signs

To each their own and to every classroom its own... but sharing your classroom management ideas and learning from others is the best way to get a near perfect classroom management system...for you.
Classroom management doesn't just consist of rules and rewards; it is a combination of all of the components that make your classroom run smoothly. Along with my classroom rules... or rule rather (RESPECT)... I have classroom hand signals that help make my day easier. You might be thinking to yourself that this sounds sketchy but I am here to say that it is one of the best things I have ever implemented in my classroom. Plus my students LOVE it and my principal seems to like it as well.

Have you ever been frustrated to the point of wanting to pull out your hair because students are constantly interrupting your lessons? Do you see numerous hands fly up with a plea to go to the restroom right in the middle of your teacher input? Are you tired of having to stop your directions so that students can sharpen their pencils? Does it frustrate you when students ask to get water in the middle of your explanation of key concepts?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions then I have your solution... HAND SIGNALS! In my class, we have 3 hand signals. One to sharpen pencils, one to use the restroom and another to get water. I teach these hand signals at the beginning of the year and they catch on quickly. Instead of stopping my lesson to listen to a student's request, I just nod my head as an okay when I see a student hold up a hand signal and they know that they can go ahead with what they need to do. My to-do for today is to make a hand signal poster to hang in my classroom.

Hand Signals:

W = Water
O = Bathroom
Pencil = Sharpen


  1. i love to see that another teacher is doing the hand signals as well!! I implemented this same idea with my kindergarteners last year and it was so wonderful! it eliminated the "i need to go to the baaaathroom!" and "i need water!!" I used sign language instead: r for restroom, w for water, and even had one for glue! thanks for your tips! love them :)

  2. It is so good to hear that someone else is using hand signals... and that they worked with kindergarteners!! I can hear the nagging "I need to go to the baaathroom!" right now :)

  3. I have used them the past 3 years as well and love it!! It leaves so much unsaid!

  4. I've used these hand signals for the past few years! Makes life so much easier in the classroom! My signals for water and pencil are the same. My signal for bathroom is fingers crossed. :)


  5. I use similar hand signals as well. I recently found a video where the teacher uses hand signals too. I don't think I could ever use them quite as well or as much as she does, but I plan to try using some thing year!

    I'm including the link to the video. You'll see her on the first video as you scroll down.