More Tips for Walking Students in a Line {Managing a Line}

Yesterday I blogged about  how to assign places in your class line as well as the purpose for doing so. Now that you have a plan to form your line, I’m hear to share some tips for leaving the classroom and walking around the school in a manner that will earn the class compliments from other teachers.

In my classroom I call the students to line up in three different groups in the following order: outside row, middle row, and inside row,  The inside row lines up against the wall so I call them first. Once they are “in position” I call the middle row. The middle row lines up in front of the door next in between the outside and inside row so I call them second. The inside row then lines up closest to the main area of the classroom. 

Lining them up this way serves a few purposes.

They are able to walk directly to their space in line without weaving through other students.

When they need a reminder about the expectations for lining up I can add in a bit of friendly competition by saying I’ll be watching to see which row is best demonstrating the expected behavior.

Because the total line is only 1/3 of the class, I don’t need to reserve the entire length of the classroom for lining up which is such a small portion of the day and can instead place a student table there for Math Workshop / Guided Math rotations.

The expectation once they are in the hallway is that they are ALWAYS silent. They have ample opportunity to talk throughout the day. We talk a lot about the importance of respecting other learners in the building and how we can help them stay focused by not disrupting them as we go by. That has more impact than just telling them to be quiet in the hall.

To help them meet the hallway expectation I build in several stops that I refer to as “checkpoints.” At these designated spots the line stops, I glance up and down it and when it looks ready to go I give them a thumbs up and we continue. This really takes no time at all.

I always have the line stop at a corner. The reason I do this is so that I can position myself at the corner so that I can see the entire line at all times. As the last student rounds the corner I walk with them again. If a teacher walks with the line around a corner, there is going to be a span of time when several students are not in her sight. 

It would be great if kids met the expectations just because they were expectations, but sometimes they need a bit of incentive. Here are two things that I’ve had outstanding success with:

Class Compliments: If my class receives a compliment from another adult in the building for how well the line is working together I add a link to our Classroom Teamwork Chain.

Secret Walker: Before we leave the classroom I always select a “secret walker.” I tell them that I will be paying extra close attention to that friend as we progress to our destination. I will be making sure he is facing forward, walking quietly, and keeping his hands by his side. When we get to the destination I reveal the name of the secret walker. However, I only tell the class who it was if the secret walker met all of the expectations for the entire walk. The kids love this and it is highly effective.  Instead of having to single out a child to say, “turn around” or “remember to be silent in the hallway” I simply say to the entire class, “I’m checking to see if my secret walker is (facing forward, ready to walk, walking quietly, etc).”

In the past I would then let my secret walker “clip up,” but I don’t intend to use the clip chart this year.
Instead I made certificates for the secret walker to bring home to show his/her family. 

I plan to give them the entire width of the paper which includes a certificate to take home and a raffle ticket. They will write their name on the ticket, cut the slip on the dotted line and deposit into a container. I'll draw a name from the container when I need a student or students for special tasks (i.e. helping the kindergarten class in the computer lab).
{Click to Access and Download: Secret Walker Certificates}

Tips and Printables for Managing A Line of Students {Free Printables}

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