Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Using Signals in the classrooms : Tips for teachers

Many teachers find it difficult to make students sit and continue doing their tasks after a stirring activity. Here,  I would like to share with teachers out there on how we can use signals to help us manage or control our classrooms. This idea is collected during a course I recently attended and I have used it in my workshops with teachers. The teachers love it and some find it interesting to use in their classrooms.

Quiet and get ready signals:
1. Hand signal. Put up a hand ( right or left ) to indicate that you would like them to keep quiet and pay attention.
2. Hello signal. Say  "hello" and the students respond with " hi" or vise versa when you need them to keep quiet and pay attention to you.
3. Song signal. You can create a song (  short and catchy ). When you need your students  attention, you sing the first line and the students repeat and continue singing the song. Here is an example I have created. It is sung using the melody of " London Bridge " song.
Are you all ready to learn ? (teacher sings and repeats the line until she gets students response.
Yes we are, yes we are ( students respond )
My dear teacher.

Checking students understanding:
1. Thumb signal. Students show their thumbs ( up ) to indicate that they have understood the teacher instructions or what they have learnt in the lesson. If they do not understand, they show their thumbs ( downward) and if they are not sure, their thumbs are positioned in the middle (neither up nor down)
2. Traffic lights cards. Prepare 3 cards ( green, yellow and red ). You can laminate them for long lasting use and tie them together. Students show the green card if they have understood you, red card if they do not understand and yellow card if they are  not sure or have only understood part of the instructions or lesson.
3. Small white board card. Students can draw or write anything on their white board card to indicate whether they have understood you. It depends on their creativity or you can set what they should draw or write. For example, smiley faces, ticks and crosses, or 'OK /KO'.