Lining up your class is one of the classroom basics that you really need to master early on in your teaching career.
It’s very simple to operate once you understand the few pitfalls that there are and the difference it makes to class organisation is noticeable.
Years ago we used to line children up with a “girls line” and a “boys line”…which to be honest had nothing wrong with it – until it became sort of politically incorrect. It’s unbelievable how the modern trend for this sort of correctness even extends to how we line up kids!
Lets look at the basics – we need to move our class as a unit with the least fuss and problem….sounds simple enough, but here again there is opportunity for it to go hopelessly wrong!!
You need to stress to your class that you require this doing correctly and stipulate what you expect…..the sorts of thing below
- To line up quickly and quietly at a pre- set point near the class door (don’t get them to line up behind a closed door or you can’t open the door without everyone shuffling back and this will be “enjoyed by all”
- In school they should line up in single file and quietly (you can always wait for quiet – but practice at playtime is always a good motivator!)
- Keep hands and feet to themselves
I always used to choose someone pretty reliable to lead the line – the same person every time, who then got to know what was going on. So when we came to lining up I would simply say ” Brendan – line us up please” and he would take his place at the front of the line. Behind him it didn’t matter who was where.
Now here’s the part where many teachers fall on their faces…..moving the children. Note these points
- Children will want to talk – no problem so long as it is not too loud (depends on where you are going and if you are passing any other classes in open plan…no doors)
- Children will dawdle and so gaps will appear in the line
- Children will run and mess around after going around a corner
So here’s what to do
- Once the children are lined up ready, you move near the front of the line so you can see both the line and also the corridor or route ahead.
- You tell Brendon or whoever it is to walk to a point and stop (this stopping point should be visible) “Brendan take us to the corner”
- You let the line move but keep an eye both up and down the line and keep things moving, stop gaps appearing or any other events – in other words you are on top of the situation
- Once the line has stopped and everyone is ready then you move off again with another instruction to Brendan
And so it goes – point to point until you reach your destination – if you need to stop the line or speak to the line then you have opportunity and if you need to intervene then you can catch things instantly.
Ok so the next problem area are corners….
- Brendan will have taken the class to the corner and stopped.
- You then move to the front of the line and stand on the corner so you can see both ways through the corner
- When Brendan takes the class forward to the next stopping point you can now see the children on both sides of the corner and control both.
Many teachers fail to do this and of course children once round the corner will run as they are out of sight !
Other things to consider.
- Your line should move either to the left or right hand side of a corridor to allow others to pass when the class is moving.
- If you are lining up and moving into the school from the playground then get the line to stop at the door and reform. It will usually be a corner turn into the school so you should then move to the front of the line to see both angles of the corner.
Moving with chairs
It’s similar organisational practice except this time with chairs…obviously!
However, and you should practice this, the children MUST carry their chairs with the legs facing to the ground – this is obviously a safety issue and so be quite strict on this and “land ” instantly on anyone not following this rule. (as in the pic below!)
You will need to talk this through with the children, as they have to be more observant as the line moves a little slower and we don’t want children to get wacked in the back by the person behind. Keep your eyes on these types of lines when moving.
There are occasions when a class of “chair movers” has to stop and wait. In this instance the children can put their chairs on the floor (the chairs will all be facing backwards!) and then sit on them. Its easier to do it this way than to try to spin the chairs around. The line when seated will be facing the wrong way, but the children will think its great fun ! When things are ready the chairs are pointing the right way to be picked up easily.
Lining up to get on a bus
Always safety first when it involves anything near road or traffic.
- You should have other T.A’s in this situation so have someone at the front of the line and someone at the back.
- Your usual person will be fronting the line and have stopping points along the way to the bus
- Your last stopping point should be a short distance from the bus NOT at the bus door. This allows you to make sure everyone is settled and ready and you can have a quick word to the class
- Next stop is the bus door and everyone waits – You should be standing at the bus door and so you can tell the line to get on or stop the line if needed. You can also see back down the line.
- On a bus distribute staff amongst the pupils
Walking on Pavements
This needs the most careful of monitoring but you should have plenty of staff and possibly some parents.
- Distribute the adults amongst the children front, back, middle
- The children should walk against the fence side of the pavement and adults to the road side. Keep checking that Children do NOT start to stray too near the road
- Many schools will equip both staff and children with fluorescent jackets which make things more visible to road users which is helpful. If you access to these then use them.
- In most cases the lines get quite strung out due to the pavement location, use of other adults and also members of the public – don’t worry about this in this case as you should have enough adults to monitor the movement safely.
Again a big safety issue so be vigilant…..this would usually occur in conjunction with the pavement walking and so you may be using the fluorescent jackets again – but not necessarily!
- You need to have given an instruction to other adults NOT to cross the road but identified the place where the crossing will be done.
- You then go to the front of the line and speak to the other adults at the front.
- What you need are 2 adults who will act as “barriers”…no this is not human sacrifice.
- When the line is ready at the kerbside you need to look for a suitable gap in the traffic – at this point the 2 adults move into the road and face the oncoming traffic in both directions.
- The remaining adults will move the children across the road quickly in 1 attempt and line them up on the other side of the road.
- The adults in the road will hand signal to traffic to stop if necessary and wave to thank drivers when the crossing has occurred.
- Drivers are very understanding about this and I have never had any bad reactions – this is probably because they see the crossing as organised and quickly achieved
I think that covers all the main points in lining up and moving your class about. Apply the same principles even when you are out and about and you will avoid the frantic, disorganised and noisy messes that you can frequently observe.
Oh just one more thing – you may, at times , come across children who just cannot behave well enough to move in the line. They mess about or are too loud etc. For these children remove them from the line and get them to walk with you. Wherever you go they follow…so if you move to the front they come as well. This allows you to both monitor the line and also keep a close eye on the individual pupil and keep him / her out of trouble. You will usually need to do this every time the class lines up until such time you think they can be put back in.
Your instruction would be …”Brendan line us up please – Billy you’re with me”
Again its organisation, its training the children to know what you expect of them and they will rise to the challenge.
A well ordered class moving around the school or on a visit outside always draws positive remarks and it reflects your own class ethos in practice. Besides…it makes things much easier as well !!
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