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!" (http://youtu.be/udS-OcNtSWo) 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.