Classroom Management

Get a Quiet Line Every Time!

Clean up and line up can be the toughest parts of a class period for any art teacher.  Consequently, they are also the parts of class where there is the most movement, action and noise. Yikes! Although I have some pretty good structures in place for art room helpers and clean up, I think large classes and a small room combined with movement and mess are a recipe for disaster no matter how you look at it.

Around this time of year, students can become apathetic. They can also become immune to the sound of the teacher’s voice. They are cooped up, ready for spring and a little too comfortable with basic routines. In my case, they hear me reminding, harping, and instructing and soon, they just stop listening. So, I thought to myself, “What could I do to tap into different types of learning styles to assist with a quiet line up after a sometimes-crazy clean up?”  Then it came to me.

What about a visual cue instead of a verbal one?!

I have tables labeled by color. So, as clean up is winding down, I simply held up a color card of a table I noticed that was sitting quietly. Those students could line up. The students had to look up at me. For some reason, this stopped a lot of talking. It was kind of suspenseful which card I would hold up next. I’ve successfully tried this technique for one week and it went smoothly each time. I am amazed how it engaged the students in a different way. When the cue is verbal, students respond verbally. When the cue is non-verbal, students respond without voices. Try it!

I would like to get a handy little plastic wall pocket to keep right inside my door so I can grab the cards each time. I also want to add to this pocket some review questions and quick formative assessments that I can grab and review with students while they are in line.  The second all the kids are lined up quietly I jump into a review question. This doesn’t give them a chance to get chatty before they go into the hall.

What are some techniques you use to line up your kiddos without a peep?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is AOEU’s Founder and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.

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