March 12, 2008
"I have a large rain stick that I turn over slowly when it's time to transition from one activity to another. Students know that they must be in their seats listening for instructions before it stops raining or their name goes in our discipline book. I use a brass bell if we are switching from centers, and I also own a Yakker Tracker stoplight for classes that need extra noise management techniques. It helps to use different strategies so that students do not develop immunity to them. I also say, very quietly, 'thumbs up if you can hear me,' until this action spreads throughout the group and I can begin speaking. I never try to talk over a class. Sometimes I will stand, smile, and with eye contact to as many as I can, say, 'I'm waiting&..but not very patiently.' At the beginning of the year, I give 'letters' for students who comply immediately, decreasing this award as the months progress and replacing it with consequences if necessary, such as staying in at recess to write a behavior analysis for parent signature. I have used these techniques with students in elementary and middle school. "