Anyone else's students a little rambunctious lately? In Michigan, our kiddos have been cooped up way too long without fresh air and Vitamin D and its causing an unhealthy case of "stir crazy!"
When this starts happening every year, I always start to pull my hair out in frustration, but then I remember that the crazy can be conquered with routine consistency and 'sticking to my guns' per say. Otherwise, I'll end up looking like the meme below.......Ahhhhhhhhhh
Instead of trying to pull out all the bells and whistles or doing a little song and dance to keep em' entertained, I just rely on structure. In our school we use "Give Me 5" as our attention grabber. When I need their attention (after a quick turn and talk to a partner, or voices are just getting a little too loud) I put one hand in the air and say Give me 5, and then I quietly count backward until 1. I show the counting backward on my fingers and other students join in as well. When I get to 1, any students who are still talking receive a warning. Be strong, if a student earns a warning give it to him/her regardless of how you feel. Students crave fairness and it will only take a time or two before the craziness begins to subside. Click HERE for a FREE editable template (created by my teammate Stephanie Rye of Forever in Fifth Grade) to help you set up a warnings consequence system with your students and to help you keep track of those warnings.
And, here's a cute free Give Me 5 poster I found by Confessions of a Teaching Junkie on TPT.
Unstructured time is also a nightmare during these long winter months when the kids don't get near enough exercise. So I make sure to plan for every. single. minute. of. the. day! To fight the frenzy, I return to the uber organized and over prepared teacher I was in September!! Sometimes, at this point in the year, we have all started to slack a bit in our routines and expectations and that can fuel the fire. When I'm well planned, our classroom runs like a well oiled machine (most of the time LOL).
Further, transition times are where all heck begins to break loose when we haven't had recess for a week. So, I make sure that every transition follows the SAME routine. Before we make the transition I always say "When I say Go - (and then I give the directions, for example) - quietly bring your reading folder, notebook, pencil and book to your spot on the carpet. I'll meet you there in 2 minutes. You may GO." Or, "When I say Go, you need to put your math paper inside your math folder and line up for library. You may Go." This way students are listening because they're waiting for me to say GO, they also don't move while I'm giving directions (that drives me insane).
If several students are not transitioning properly, I take time to have some students act out a review of what it SHOULD NOT and SHOULD look like when coming to the carpet, or lining up. Then, I give out warnings to students who are not following procedures. I remind myself to 'stick to my guns,' be fair and be consistent and I will conquer the crazy!!! Good luck and fingers crossed for some warmer temperatures to get these kids outside running around!