Lining up shouldn’t be a stressful, painful, or lengthy process. Yet, we know it can be a struggle, so we did some digging to find some great lining-up strategies, tested and approved by teachers. Here are some of the best ideas for getting your students to line up quickly and quietly. We have a great video on this topic as well. Take a look:
1. Put a few kids in charge.
We love the idea from teacher Ody C. from ourWeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook. She designates kids to be line leaders each week. She has three leaders total—one for the front of line, one for the middle, and one for back. The students take their job very seriously, and they love helping other students stay on track.
2. Use a voice levels poster to keep students on track.
This printable voice levels poster is available for free at WeAreTeachers. It would make a good visual reminder to post near your line-up location.
3. Encourage good behavior through chants.
This teacher has great line-up chants and posters that she uses to remind her students of good lining-up and hallway behavior.
4. Make it a friendly competition.
Here’s another tip from ourWeAreTeachers HELPLINE group. Jaimi turns lining up into a friendly competition among teams. The goal is to be prepared as quickly as possible. For an added incentive, we suggest monitoring in a visual way to help students track their progress.
5. Mix it up with a different order.
Sometimes it just helps to mix things up so your students are always on their toes. Create a new order for your students to line up each week. When you introduce the new order, really emphasize the importance of good line behavior. This is a simple strategy, but it can keep your students alert instead of lining up just being a rush to be first.
6. Assign numbers.
You can either assign numbers directly to students, or you can also call out students’ names as you go. For example, “Brax, please line up on number 10.”
7. Try a song.
Try to choose a song that is short and sweet. The goal is to have all students lined up by the end of the song. This will help them stay on task from start to finish. The alphabet song works for Mary, as she mentioned in our HELPLINE group.
8. Encourage students to “pass it back.”
This quick game is a fun idea from Katie. With pass it back, you have the student at the front of the line start by putting their fingers on their lips. Then they turn and “pass it” to the next person. This continues quickly and quietly until it reaches the last child. This has really helped her students stay focused and on task in line.
9. Try a timer.
Whether you have a simple digital timer, a sand timer, or just the stopwatch on your smart phone, encourage your students to line up quickly. Tell them you’ll have to add time if they’re too loud. Encourage them to beat their time or consistently meet expectations of a certain time.
10. Get yourself a doorbell.
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If you have not yet gotten yourself one of these gems, don’t wait another minute! @teachcreatemotivate got me hooked with her post on her lanyard doorbell. I bought mine off of Amazon for $25.99 and I use it everyday! It has 52 chimes (including songs). I use it for transitions, Daily 5 Rotation signals, and clean-up time. My students love it and get so excited when I switch it up with new sounds. I use a Velcro dot and attach it to my voice amplifier necklace (my school is super tech savvy!) But you could easily attach it to anything! Honestly, I wish I could buy this for all of my teacher friends! It’s my favorite teaching tool (besides Amazon Alexa that I am currently fighting with!) #iteachfirst #teachersofinstagram #teachersofinsta #teacherspayteachers #teacherlifehacks #teacherhacks #iteachtoo #classroomdoorbell #innovativeteaching #edtech #transitions
Teachers all over social media are talking about the magic of a doorbell. It really helps provide a strong audio cue for students when it’s time to line up.
11. Call on students one at a time.
Many teachers already have sticks, cards, or other methods they use to call on students. This can work well to get students to line up, too. By using something you have already incorporated in the classroom, it can provide just the focus you need.
12. Use visuals like arrows, shapes, or other designs.
Similar to the numbers-on-the-floor idea, you can also use arrows, shapes, or other icons to help students line up. We’ve seen some teachers trace and make cut-outs of their students’ feet. Otherwise, you can try any visual that will work for your kids.
13. Tell your students you are all spies!
This little fun game of pretend works for Nicole R., another teacher from ourWeAreTeachers HELPLINE group. She will often tell her students that they are on a secret mission. So lining up is a really fun activity!
14. Choose a mystery walker.
What is a mystery walker exactly? It’s a genius idea fromWeAreTeachers HELPLINE groupmember Mary C. She tells her students she will select a mystery walker every time they’re in the hallway to get a small prize, ticket, or to make a fun choice for the class. But the catch is that the person has to have good lining-up and hallway behavior.
15. Reevaluate the rules.
We hear it from teachers time and time again. They had great classroom management for tasks like lining up, and then things went awry—maybe because there’s been too much indoor recess or there was a recent long weekend. Never fear. Just set expectations and go over the rules, just like you would in the first days of school. Sometimes students need those reminders, no matter what time of year it is.
Do you have tips for lining up? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.