“Managing requests for bathroom and the like – justified or not, approved or not – can become a distraction from teaching.”
KEY IDEA: A set of signals for common needs that require or allow students to get out of their seats.
Seat Signal Criteria:
- Students must be able to signal their request from their seats.
- Students must be able to signal the requests nonverbally.
- The signals should be specific and unambiguous but subtle enough to prevent them from becoming a distraction.
- You should be able to manage both their requests and your response without interrupting instruction (with a nod yes, or no, for example, or five fingers for “in five minutes”)
- You should be explicit and consistent about the signals you expect students to use, posting them on the wall so students can see them and disciplining yourself to require them by responding only when they are used.
- “Can I use the bathroom, please? Hand up; two fingers crossed.
- “I need a new pencil” Hold pencil up, wait for exchange
- “I need to sharpen my pencil” hands together in fists, one rotating like a crank gesture
- “I need a tissue” *Left hand pinching nose
- “I need to get out of my seat” One finger held up rotated in a circular motion.
*Personal note: A child who has a runny nose is NOT going to want to pinch their full nose. I suggested coming up with another hand gesture.
From Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemove (Jossey Bass, 2010)