Hi there! It's Jamie from 2nd Grade Stuff! Today I am sharing a very simple tool that you can use in your classroom starting NOW!
This tip isn't anything magical or brand spankin' new or revolutionary, but it is definitely one that I wish I would have known my first year teaching. It's one of those things that seems so simple, but perhaps you just haven't taken the time to think about implementing it yet. Well, there's no better time than now! If you aren't using hand signals in your classroom yet, you really should!
You are sitting with your struggling readers at your small group area and you suddenly see a hand go up at the Word Work center, then another hand goes up at the Writing center. You tell your little struggling reader to pause for just a minute and address the two raised hands. One student asks to go to the restroom. You say yes. Another student wants a drink of water. You say not right now. Struggling reader begins to read again. Two minutes later, two more students have their hands in the air, each with requests to sharpen their pencil or leave the room to go to the restroom or to get a drink of water. You ask your struggling reader to pause for another minute, address the two raised hands. The struggling reader has now forgotten where they are in the text. The other students in the small group have lost focus and one student is spinning on his bottom - ha! :)
Now picture this:
You are sitting with the same small group of struggling readers. You see a student raise two fingers in the air at the Word Work center. You know this means "May I use the restroom?" You silently nod to the student while the small group continues to read. Another student raises 3 fingers in the air and you know that this means "May I get a drink of water?" Perhaps this isn't the best time for that or the student has just gotten a drink or had a restroom break, so you silently shake your head no and the student continues working at their center. Your small group is still reading. You didn't have to say a word. You haven't lost anyone's focus and you have no students spinning on their bottom - SCORE! :)
I implement the following hand signals in my classroom and you should too! It's easy, simple, and nothing revolutionary, but such a time saver!