It seems like my first graders and I were always standing in line: going to the bathroom, waiting for specials (PE, art, music, etc.), going to lunch, getting our pictures taken, and on and on and on. So I invented games to play that my children loved and kept them well-behaved while standing in line.
For example, I used spelling games (usually the words on our spelling list or in our unit). I would say something like, “I’m thinking of a word that is spelled ‘w-o-u-l-d’. Who knows the word?”
For a phonics game I would say, “Which letter says, ‘wa-wa-wa?'”
If a child knew the answer, he/she would raise his/her hand and quietly say the answer. I would carry little stickers with me everywhere and give the child with the right answer a sticker on the forehead, hand or arm.
If a child yelled out an answer or didn’t raise his/her hand to be called on, he/she was not a winner at that particular moment. However, I always gave children who made mistakes opportunities to try again for a sticker.
I would also ask math, science and social studies questions with our standing-in-line game. In addition, I tweaked this game by asking the children, “I wonder who can stand in line the neatest, quietest, and standing up the tallest?” or “I wonder if the boys or girls can do a better job standing in line?”
I would always use a child who was doing a great job following directions as an example. I would say, “I like the way (child’s name) is standing so still and patiently in line. Great job (child’s name)!”
This game has worked for me time and again. Not only did my class always get compliments for their good behavior in line, but it was also a great way to review material that we were learning in class.
I hope this game works as well for you as it did for me!
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