One of the things I love about blogging is how it forces me to be really reflective about what happens in my classroom. This class, more so than any other, responds well to things I never thought they would. So I'm hoping on Wednesdays to share a tip from my own classroom that's working for me. This allows me to remember all the unique things that motivate my kiddos to use throughout the year and hopefully pass along something useful to you!
One thing my class really struggled with this year is packing up for dismissal. I teach right up to the very end of the day, leaving about five minutes for packing up. Luckily, most of my kiddos pack up fast, so our struggles at this time of the day always had to do with our voices, hands, and feet AFTER they packed up.
Then it hit me, to have my pick ups and on site after school care pack up first. They sit on the carpet once they are packed up, freeing up space in my teeny tiny classroom for everyone else to unpack, and then I do a little competition of boys versus girls to see who packs up first. The competition is always who is the quietest. :) I love having my after school care/pick up group pack up first because they are ready and all together when their bell rings. I can then calmly dismiss them, and they are headed upstairs before the mass exodus of classrooms to the bus when the final bell rings. :)
Once the after school care/pick up bell rings and they head to where they need to go after school, I have about three minutes that I could only describe before as chaos. My kids thrive off of and need structure, so I needed to plan something. Secret trash was out because sweeping the floor is a behavior reward for one of my most challenging kiddos.
Enter the Game of Statues. I love it. One of my pumpkins shared it with me, and I can't thank her enough for teaching it to us! To start the game, I call out "Ready Set Statue!" Then my kiddos strike a pose, and have to stay super still. I pick the best statue to be the next judge. This kiddos goes to the door and calls out "Ready Set Statue" and the game continues. The kiddos get super quiet and super still and the judge picks the best statue to be the next judge. We play until the bus bell rings, anywhere from 3-5 minutes, and my kids love it. The end of the day has gone from one of our craziest, most stressful times of the day to one of our best! :)
I hope you'll give the Game of Statues a try in your classroom! I think you and your students will love it!