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FOCUS on Classroom Management: Week 3 - Cuing Students: Verbal and Non-Verbal

According to Webster's dictionary, a "cue" is "any sound, word, or action that signals an action; a guiding hint or suggestion." Delivering cues to your students, both verbally and non-verbally, will aid them in understanding the message you are trying to explain.

Just before you tell your class something very important, cue the upcoming statement. One suggestion is to say, "Students, I have something very interesting I want to share with you," or "Jonathan (address by name), I am going to tell you something very important." Statements such as these will focus students' attention on you. Use these same statements when redirecting misbehavior. After using such a statement, proceed to tell students exactly what you expect of them.

Non-verbal cues also play an important role in the classroom. Perhaps you have an individual student who has a difficult time paying attention in class. One idea is to take that child aside before school starts and discuss a "non-verbal" cue that only the two of you will know and use between yourselves. For example, "Kate" is having trouble with her eyes wandering around the room when she should be working. Pull Kate aside and briefly discuss a plan of action with her that the two of you will take when you notice that she is not staying on task. When you notice this, you will point to your eyes and then to her eyes with two of your fingers. When she sees this, it will become her immediate cue to get working. No one else has been disrupted and Kate is working as she should. If you have a student who is constantly talking to his/her neighbor, a non-verbal cue may be to walk over to his/her desk, place your palm face-down and quietly tap the desk twice. Once again, you are redirecting the behavior without any disruption to the class and almost without skipping a beat in your teaching!

Action Thought:

  • What verbal cues can I use to preface important statements to my students?
  • What are some non-verbal cues I can use with certain students in my room to help curb misbehavior without disrupting the entire class?

NEXT: Use Praise Effectively; Use Rewards Selectively - Week 4 (coming next week!)

Seminar Outline:

Welcome to FOCUS on Classroom Management

F - Focus Attention on You! - Week 1
O - Out and About in the Room - Week 2
C - Cuing Students: Verbal and Non-Verbal - Week 3
U - Use Praise Effectively; Use Rewards Selectively - Week 4
S - Seek Help When Needed - Week 5

25 Children. One Classroom. You are the Teacher. ARE YOU READY?!

A wealth of experience is waiting for you in Surviving Your First Year (or Any Year!) of Teaching and Loving It!. This great guide, authored by Kris Thurgood and Kim Christopherson, has helped thousands of teachers understand the four essentials for running a successful classroom and begin experiencing the joys of teaching. The eBook, which includes nearly 50 ready-to-use reproducibles, can be ordered and downloaded RIGHT NOW for only $9.95! Your satisfaction is guaranteed.


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