Friday, August 1, 2014

Getting From Here to There– Learning to Line Up

I still have a month before school starts (I didn't get out until mid June, remember), but my mind is drifting toward starting school with my new kidpeople. Learning how school works is always so key in the early days, so I'm joining up with Five For Friday to discuss lining up.  Look for lots of little tips hiding in here :)

1.  Teachers have all sorts of ways to teach lining up, like talking about how cars go past the fast food drive-thru window in single file– this idea's from Leslie over at Kindergarten Works recently. It made me grin.

No matter how you transition your kids to the line, it is very important that instruction starts on the first day of school, the first time you line up. I tell my new kiddos that this is something we are going to do many times each day, so we need to become Line-up Experts. (The kids don't know it then, but they will be experts in all sorts of things by the end of the year.)  Experts know three things– we line up quietly, we keep hands off friends and walls, and we take the next spot as the line forms and stay there for that trip. I allow time to practice getting into the line several times, even before we leave the room the first day. Practice and high expectations goes a long way in achieving a smooth running classroom later.

2.  Part of my lining up instruction each year involves this friendly fellow!

Yep, the old Slinky Dog, who got a renewed following when the Toy Story movies came out. I use him to demonstrate how our line should move along. I show how there is space between the coils, but not too much space. And I show how his tail end slinkies up to catch up with the rest of him at certain points. Our classroom is on the far side of the building so we have several stopping points throughout the halls to allow for our tail to "slinky up" so we don't get too spread out. We have a Head of the line, and Arms (their job it is to hold the door open when we pass through.) These two kids wait until they see our Tail  bringing up the rear before going past our stopping points. The Tail makes sure they're the last one at all times, with no one behind.  Our jobs change weekly so the kids really learn it by the end of each week.

I keep Slinky Dog nearby all year so we have a quick visual reminder when needed. And while on the topic of Slinkies, don't forget to keep a couple traditional ones in your block corner to use when making ramps and stairs– they make for fun science related extensions.  They come in several sizes, too.

3. Speaking of gaps in the line, I made a sign like this one to post near our classroom door as another reminder to watch our spacing as we walk down the hall.

I loved hearing and seeing this phrase years ago when riding London's Underground, and I started using it this way at school when I got back. People need to notice the "gap" between the subway door and platform when riding the Underground, and kidpeople need to notice the gap between themselves and the friend in front of them when walking in a line. I printed up this sign, too, to pull out mid year if we need a little refresher... mine has the little crown on top though, that is missing from pic... I tell them it's there because I am the queen– ha!

4.  I have a musical wire wand like this one that I keep at the classroom door to help us get ready to walk in line down the halls.

I don't usually introduce it the first day, but as we need it. I give it one *ping* and we race the wand to see if we can become silent before it does. It works beautifully on the days when we are particularly excited about our activities and need a little extra prompt to be quiet. I posted about many sound maker transition helpers a few months ago, and you can read about them HERE.

5.  We sing this great song I learned on  I love Mr. Smith's sense of humor. We sing it as we line up at the door. We sometimes even whisper sing or mouth it as we move down the hall. It's easy to learn and worth a listen. Click on his button to hear it. Your kiddos will learn from it and love it, too.

Now that you know why we refer to our line as a Slinky, you'll get a kick out of a couple of kid stories that I posted just yesterday. Click on the button for a laugh!

Now head back over to Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday and find more good stuff!

The post Getting From Here to There– Learning to Line Up first appeared on

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