Primarily, I use it to get their attention, and then to let the students know that I'm starting something new. This signals that we're now going to be doing something different.
For example, when transitioning from Reading groups to Math, there might be a 2 or 3 minute "transition time" where students are milling around the room waiting for the next thing to begin (or needing a band-aid, wanting to go the nurse, having to use the bathroom, <insert practically anything here>, etc., etc.)
You get the point, right?
So, I find my handy dandy "Director's Scene Changer" and say…."All right everyone, repeat after me… Math starts right….NOW" as I make the noise a Director would make before a scene (but he usually says "Action").
It works like a charm. The students are all attentive, and they feel like they're a part of a movie … or a TV show or something.
I like it specifically for the fact that I have a definitive "starting point", and will then use my "Step-Aside" Chair if needed after that.
This is something that I, personally, have been doing for years, and interestingly enough, I really like doing it. I actually "feel" like a director. It gives me confidence and the poise to teach effectively without as many disruptions.
However, I finally had to give up this job today.
To a student.
Well, because she needed the job more than I needed it… it's as simple as that.
Her peers were starting to treat her with disrespect because of some of the choices that she was making, and I could see it in her face that she was starting to not like how they were treating her. Have you ever had one these situations develop in your classroom?
I know I have, and I really have a hard time with it, because I can see how both sides get frustrated with each other, and then arguments usually follow…and more arguments, and more arguments, etc. etc. It's usually one of the hardest situations to figure out.
Until today... when this particular student felt "empowered" by her new job, and everyone started calling her "Miss Hollywood."
Her status changed, and she actually had a smile on her face all afternoon.
When it came time for us to go home today, she genuinely was really upset, because I could tell she was happy….happy that she was being treated with the respect that everyone deserves, all because of a simple job that I hired her for.
Remember, everyone deserves to feel respected, and it feels pretty good right now that I figured out how to get her to feel that way (even if only for a day) … and even if I did lose one of my favorite classroom jobs.
Oh well, I still have "pencil sharpener" on my teacher resume.
Believe me, I'm not giving that one up any time soon.
I'll tell you why in a future blog… you won't want to miss that one.