Saturday, August 10, 2013

No Banana Hat...

As I trek into more and more group work, I have struggled with a signal to pull the class back together.  (This was the only direct criticism I received from my principal last year, and I want to get it right this year!)  At my school, they clap.  The teacher claps a rhythm, and the class repeats it. Sometimes this repeats with different rhythms until not only is everyone quiet and listening, but everyone is actively engaged.  This works remarkably well in an auditorium full of kids, and is seriously fun to listen to, but never seemed to fit in my classroom.

One of the elementary teachers shared this week that she says, "Class, class!" and they answer with "Class, class!"  and then they are quiet after.  I really like this, except that she is stunningly beautiful and sophisticated and the simple statement really suits her.  I don't think I can pull it off.

I thought maybe a meme.  I'd say, "Who's got time for that?" and they would say, "Ain't nobody got time for that!"  (   or maybe I'd say, "One man's trash..." and they'd say, "is another man's come up!" (from the Macklemore song "Thrift Shop")    When I shared my idea with our gifted specialist, she cautioned that choosing a particular meme risked isolating subcultures within the population, and would have to change regularly to keep up with how swiftly memes morph - my ideas are already dated, frankly.

She said, "just make sure everybody gets it."  To that end, I've decided to show them a cartoon that has made me laugh since I saw it on a greeting card in college, and I am quite sure none of them has ever seen.  It's by Rupert Fawcett, and I got this image from his Facebook page here. 

I will say, "No banana hat," and they will say, "no dinner."  I think it's just silly enough that it will get their attention, and it does not run the risk of becoming quickly dated, since the cartoon is 20 years old anyway!

Now, all that being said, feel free to chime in with other suggestions.  This is going to be a very important piece of my classroom management, and I want something good.


  1. This might be what your pretty teacher friend is doing with Class! Class! but this is the one thing I like about Whole Brain Teaching...

    1. Yes, that is EXACTLY, what I'm looking for ... I'm looking for my own, though. I don't know if "Hey" would get their attention well enough on a regular basis.

      and THANK YOU, BTW, for consistently giving me feedback! It's so helpful to get more input.

  2. I have struggled with the same issue, and I've been brainstorming ideas too. So many of those 'call and response' techniques people use seem too babyish for my middle schoolers! One of the ideas I have (but haven't implemented yet) is to start the Fibonacci sequence and have students join in as they realize what's going on. That gives me an opportunity to praise them on how quickly (how soon into the sequence) they got quiet.

    1. "babyish" is exactly right! When I introduced this to the class, they said "Oh! Like when we said such-and-such in 2nd grade!" I said, "So that's what you'd rather do?" and they seemed repulsed. :) Two weeks in, and I think this is working rather well. I really think you could come up with nonsense words if you wanted, as long as it wasn't what they used in elementary school!