Quiet Signaling, A Classroom Management Technique That Really Works
The time that students spend in the classroom actually working on academic subjects is sometimes referred to as “engaged time.” This engaged time is very valuable. Classroom teachers have an opportunity to observe students actively solving problems and independently working through an assignment. Through appropriate monitoring and active observation, instructors can determine what tasks students are having difficulty with and when students are being successful.
During independent seatwork several of the children may have questions as they work through the assigned tasks. But the key to addressing these questions is to have previously developed a simple procedure with the class, so as not disturb the valuable learning time of the rest of the students.
In Mrs. Suppes’ 3rd grade classroom at Marquette Elementary School, a simple “quiet questioning” procedure is used everyday. Her method of assisting students who need help, without disrupting the learning environment, is to utilize a flag located on each of their desks. This simply designed flag (the “Flagbee”) can be flipped up on its swivel. If a student gets stuck on a problem and requires teacher assistance, he or she may raise the flag, but should continue working. An upright flag indicates that help is needed. This quiet signal for help minimizes distractions and disruptions.
Many times Mrs. Suppes chooses to wait a few minutes before immediately addressing a raised flag. This technique allows the children additional time to attempt to problem-solve on their own. In many cases, the student may choose to lower his or her own flag without teacher intervention, because they have figured it out on their own.
All students have been trained to make appropriate use of the help signal as a class wide intervention, and not to abuse the flags. After posting the help signal, the student should continue to check over the current work assignment to see if there are other problems or items that he or she can work on while waiting for the teacher.
This quiet questioning practice has proven to be very effective in elementary classrooms. The flag was designed by educators, and supports the latest practice in classroom management techniques. It has encouraged students to remain on task while waiting for assistance, and has helped maintain an appropriate working environment for everyone, that is conducive to learning. You can order a classroom set of Flagbees today! Visit our website at http://www.flagbee.com.