Tips to Tame 'Em: Week 2: LL, SL, FL

It's time for week 2! Thanks to those who linked up, commented, and viewed my first series/linky. It made my day. :)

Last week, I shared how I model and set expectations for routines in our classroom. This week, is a similar focus. I'm sharing how I demonstrate expectations during our learning- or our content areas.

Have you heard of the Y-chart Looks Like, Sounds Like, Feels Like? I use it for many different things, including when we are determining expectations for our learning time.

The idea behind it: How should students look like, sound like, and feel like during a part of our day.

So let's use Read Aloud for example. Before we start our first read aloud of the year, I'll ask them, "What should it look like during read aloud?" I always say something like, "If Principal _____ walked into our room, what would she see?" Usually on the chart, I put ideas for both what I am doing as a teacher and what they are doing as a student. Again, I try really hard to phrase things in the positive. So if a student says, "Students don't bring pencils with to the carpet." I try to help them state it in the positive, "Students come to the carpet with empty hands." Every now and then I just write what a kid says without realizing that it is a negative, but then we go back and add the positive (as you see above).

We then go to, "What should it sound like during read aloud?" This is one of my favorites because a lot of time, kids think they are suppose to be quiet- all the time- all day long. (It's actually kind of sad that they think this is the expectation ALL DAY.) This is the perfect time to talk about appropriate times to talk during this part of the day. For example, while the teacher is reading, it should sound quiet because they are thinking in their brains and listening. But when the teacher says, "Turn and talk about____" then it should sound like a buzzing hum with students talking about the topic (and yes, I do get pretty specific). I try to guide students towards these responses through my questioning so that it's not just me yapping.

Lastly is the trickiest of it all, but a really good one for certain parts of our day, "What should it feel like during read aloud?" This one is important (and often left out) because it sets the expectation for their body language and movements, but also sets a mood. If we say during read aloud that we should feel calm, then we talk about what a  calm body looks like. That way, students know of proper expectations. This one is especially important when discussing things like recess or when we have a guest teacher. (We should feel safe, included, fun, kind... if students don't follow these, there are consequences).

When do I create these charts at the beginning of the year?

I always display our guest teacher chart when I KNOW I'll have a guest teacher (sub) in the room. It gives the kids a reminder and is nice for the sub to know what our expectations are and that we have discussed them.

  • Mini-Lessons for Reader's and Writer's Workshop
  • Math Whole Group and Small Group/Independent Working
  • Word Work
  • Read Aloud
  • Snack Time
  • Library Area
  • Guest Teacher

Can you use them at other times of the year?

Yes!! I use them for field trips and special events like assemblies as well as a review activity after winter break.

I did a review activity for "re-month" in January where we review all our routines and expectations after our long break. I made these LL, SL, FL charts up quick and spread them around the room. Students then traveled around adding their ideas to the chart. Notice how many of them include only positive comments. I then had each table group take one and highlight key ideas for each one to share with the whole class. The best part about this- I literally laid them out and walked around, THEY came up with all of these on their own. They clearly remembered expectations. :)

The nice thing about these is that all I have to do is draw an upside down Y on the SMARTboard and either draw my little symbols or just put the first letter and they know that we are about to discuss expectations and their hands shoot up. It's quick and predictable!

You can make your own on chart paper or an interactive board, or you can grab one here to pass out for students to keep!

So now, it's your turn!
Leave a comment about this post or the question below or grab the buttons and write a longer post sharing any charts or ideas on how you set clear expectations during learning time!
 This is week 2. Take a look at what is coming up!



  1. I love this Y chart. I'd never heard of it before. Thanks for sharing this great idea!

    1. Oh cool! I'm glad I could shed a lil' light on it! I hope you find it useful... thanks for stopping by!! :)

  2. Kelli! I love this Y chart. I've not seen this before, and how clever to use it this way. I think I may try this in the fall. Thanks!

    Teaching Powered by Caffeine

    1. Yay!! So happy it might be of use to you! Let me know how it goes if you do use it :)
      P.s. I'm for sure linking up with your love it/over it linky this week!

  3. Hi Kelly, I just found your blog through MMI at Tara's blog! (My comment disappeared when I hit preview, so hoping this isn't a duplicate.) Anyway, I taught 2nd for nine years, and moved to 3rd this past year. I have already found some amazing ideas here on your blog. I love that you refer to subs as "guest teachers"- so respectful, and really sets a positive tone! I will be using that idea in September :) Where did you find those bright hand magnets to hold up your charts? Love those, too!

    1. Oh I'm so glad you found my lil' blog and that you've found some helpful things! 3rd grade is amazing... I love it! Thank you for your kind words! The hand magnets are from Lakeshore Learning. They are great because they hold pretty well, but can also serve as bullet marks when I'm making a list on the board, direction markers, or point out key words on a chart or a message on the board- well worth the money! Thanks for stopping by and for your sweet comment. :)

  4. The Guest Teacher Y-Chart is brilliant! I hope I remember to do that in September! Thanks!
    Grade 4 Buzz

  5. Thank you, Kelli- so much inspiration here!

  6. Yes thank you for the Y chart idea. I too had never heard of it! I always do the t chart of what students are doing and what the teacher is doing but it isn't as in depth. Plus I love that the Y chart includes a "feels like". That's really vital and would make those little ones think!


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