It’s been awhile (maybe even a couple of years) since I’ve complained and growled and vented about the daily interruptions that happen in my classroom.
But I’m back.
Because the phone is ringing again.
And I’m usually teaching a whole class lesson on the carpet.
And the classroom phone is clear across the room. CLEAR ACROSS THE ROOM. It might as well be the length of a football field for how far away I am from six year olds on my carpet who are LEFT TO THEIR OWN DEVICES.
Here’s a tip:
DO NOT LEAVE SIX YEAR OLDS UNATTENDED.
Especially if you want to come back in a moment and continue your lesson.
Because while I’m on the phone, my kids are doing any number of things.
Such as: rock, paper, scissors, lemonade – crunchy ice, a somersault, sound effects, shushing each other, giggling because someone tooted, giggling because someone’s underwear is peeking out of the back of their jeans, lots of stop shushing me, you’re not the boss of me, etc etc etc.
And meanwhile, I’m on the phone for any number of things.
I finally got smart.
First, I taught my kids The Quiet Game from Heidi of HeidiSongs.
You pick one kid to begin as you’re rushing off to answer the phone. I just always pick my Teacher’s Pet. I say Teacher’s Pet, start the quiet game! And that kid comes up and sits in my director’s chair. Then they pick another quiet student and that student comes up. And so on and so on. It works like a charm. It’s the silliest thing, but my kids will do just about anything to sit in the director’s chair.
I like to change things up.
That’s just the way I am.
So sometimes, I yell Teacher’s Pet, SIGHT WORDS!
And then he or she will grab a ring of sight words off the focus wall and the class practices sight words. They love this, too! I don’t know why? Because it’s not me, most likely. They’re teaching each other. 🙂
This was my Focus Wall at the end of last year. I’ve since switched a few things so it might look a little different in the pictures below. But this is our whole group instruction space and my kids sit on the carpet facing this wall.
The first four words on display are the weekly Highly Frequency Words that we have from Benchmark Advance (sometimes there are five). I know the header says “Sight Words” but that’s because I just haven’t taken the time to change it. I just can’t right now. It’s December, we don’t get out until December 22, and I am barely hanging on. I am cutting myself some slack and I’m saying I’m happy that I finally typed, printed, laminated, and organized the words three weeks ago while we were still in Unit 3. That’s a victory, thank you very much.
The sight word rings hanging underneath are our District sight words. This trimester, our students are required to read Sight Word Lists I through K.
I have these lists and flashcards in number format in my store (and they’re editable) if you need something like this. But just use whatever you’ve got! 🙂
And, sometimes, I change it up again and yell Teacher’s Pet, grab the Math Cards!
I have several sets of Subitizing Cards that we use as practice cards, too. I switch these up and also add in our Skip Counting Cards. If you haven’t figured it out, I like to keep things fresh. 🙂 Again, just use whatever you have lying around!
Whatever it is — ABC Cards, Shapes, Colors, Numbers, Animals – it does NOT matter, as long as you have something in place that YOU use regularly. I use all of these cards for all kinds of reasons, but mostly during transitions.
Which means . . . since I’m using these cards all the time, THEY WANT TO USE THEM, TOO.
They want to sit in my director’s chair and hold these cards.
It’s powerful. 🙂
Even though I am human and I cannot help but be slightly annoyed when the phone rings for the umpteenth time that So and So is riding the bus home, or that So and So has lunch in the office, or that So and So is leaving early, I have a system in place.
This also comes in handy when a parent needs to talk to me.
My kids look good and I look good, and, as you already know, that’s pretty much all I care about. 🙂
PS The cards in the pocket chart are from my Parts of Speech Picture Cards pack. We also use these! We’ve been studying adjectives and I cover up the word and the kids have to describe the object on the card. They love when they guess the exact word on the card. So my kids use these, too, if I have to get the phone. Before adjectives, I had verbs, then nouns. Pretty soon, I’ll put a mix in there and the kids will have to tell me if it’s a noun, verb, or adjective. 🙂
I love this idea, thank you! Luckily we do not have phones in our rooms.
Heidi Butkus says
I LOVE the shout out- and your style of writing! SO FUN!!!
I needed those ideas for Phone interruptions! I have trained one reliable child …and later, a few others (whose Sit Spot is near the phone) to answer, “Room 29, student speaking.” About half of the time, there is a message that he can relay to me. Jacket in office, library book in office, So and so needs to go to speech now. This cuts down on the number of times that I have to call out “Safety Sit!” an tiptoe through the kids (we are short on space for our gathering area) to the phone…holding my hand in the shape of a zero for “Zero Voices!” For some reason, our wonderful office personnel is only allowed to ask the Actual Teacher….not even a parent helper, if we know why So and so is absent. (This happens when the parent did not call in the absence.)
On a different note: What did you think of the mix of ch and tch words we had to teach in Unit 4, week 2? Did you teach the spelling rule? And then of course, we had an exception to the rule with “much.”
I’m in Room 29, too!!!! 🙂 Love your Safety Sit call and the zero shape!
I was okay with the mix because Houghton Mifflin did it that way, too. So many rules, so little time! Haha!