My Top Classroom Management Tip: Hand Signals

Imagine being in the middle of a lesson that is going perfectly. Then, one student raises a hand to ask to go to the bathroom. Suddenly, another student asks to sharpen a pencil while another asks to get a drink.

Unfortunately, one student raising a hand creates a domino effect for everyone else in the class. Due to this disruption, the perfect lesson you created has now been forgotten about as students are all requesting different things.

My top classroom management tip: hand signals will be a game-changer in your classroom! Here are some ways to get your student off the screen and engaged in the lesson.  Those perfectly planned lessons will be implemented without any disruptions asking to go somewhere or get something! 

Benefits of Hand Signals 

  1. Fewer Interruptions 

I love when students raise their hands to participate in a lesson! However, many times when I call on students, they ask for things they need, such as a trip to the bathroom or to get a new pencil.

When this happens so often, it does cause some disappointment because I want students to be discussing the lesson. Additionally, when there are several requests for something or to go somewhere, students who are really focused get distracted while I am helping students get what they need.

Furthermore, so much class time is lost answering these questions and getting students back on-task. However, by using hand signals, I have fewer interruptions of students asking for something they need.

Instead of verbally communicating, they only have to provide a hand signal and I give a quick head motion for yes or no. Therefore, students are staying focused and I am able to use every minute of class for teaching! 

  1. On Track Lessons 

Every minute of the school day is valuable. There just never seems to be enough time to get through everything that is needed. By utilizing hand signals, students can ask for what they need, such as a tissue, without causing lesson delivery time to be reduced.

Additionally, when I call on a student, I know the response will be something about the lesson. It is an awful feeling of being so excited that a student is engaged and wanting to participate in a lesson only to be asked for a tissue. However, since implementing hand signals, I know a student will be participating in the lesson when a hand is raised! 

  1. Comfortable Classroom Setting 

Every classroom has students who are not comfortable speaking in front of the whole class. Additionally, some feel awkward asking for a tissue or to use the bathroom. Therefore, hand signals help ensure students who are not comfortable speaking can easily ask for what they need!

Also, more students will be comfortable participating. With a thumbs up or thumbs down, everyone can communicate their thoughts without being afraid of speaking up or all eyes on oneself. There are even signals for students to ask for help, the opportunity to explain an idea or make a comment. 

  1. Decision Fatigue 

Decision fatigue is REAL! There are so many decisions to make every day for yourself and your students. Having to make hundreds of decisions each day can be absolutely exhausting. However, hand signals result in fewer student questions throughout the day, thus making fewer decisions.

Instead of having to be asked for a new pencil or tissues ten times a day, the hand signal can be a quick, non-verbal way for a student to ask for what they need while teaching still continues. 

Teaching can be incredibly stressful. There is so much to handle each day, so simplifying anything is so helpful. These hand signal posters help promote a calming feeling in the classroom while having strong classroom management.

Furthermore, more time is spent actually teaching while communicating basic management issues non-verbally. Hand signals are going to help make the classroom a calm and focused learning environment.