Keeping 'Em Engaged... Keeping Me Accountable

Today, I have a quick post on some things I have right up in my teaching space to not only keep students engaged during whole group lessons, but also to keep me accountable that I am being purposeful and thoughtful in my classroom management.

My Control Center
I'm breaking this space down a bit to show you each of the roles these lil' tools play in keeping our lessons cruising and my students engaged. Some things to note in this above pictures:
My Partner Sticks, Dice, and Pick-a-Sticks
My Partner Sticks allow me to put kids into random groups easily. My dice have animal stickers on on them. Each student has an animal sticker on their name tag. These are great for when I'm dismissing students or having students collect materials by just rolling the dice and calling out the animal group. My Pick-a-Stick jar just has student names on them that I pull to answer questions or as a 'fair' way to choose someone for a task. 
This is one of my attention signals. I just play a little pattern and it instantly quiets them. I don't have a mallet, but my markers do the trick. It's the perfect size and hangs on the wall using a command hook.
Marker Holder
I'll never loose my markers again, as this perfect magnetic caddy holds different sized whiteboard markers, eraser and other response protocols we have introduced yet.

Response Protocols
One thing I am AWFUL at is letting my students know how I want them to respond to my questions. A lot of these strategies are from the CLR book we read last year as a building; others are things I've seen on Pinterest, through RC trainings or from other teachers in my building. It helps to have them all posted in one spot for me as a reminder for all the ways I could have students respond. Some are meant just for one or two to respond to a question while others are for whole group sharing (typically when there is only one right answer). I now point to the one I want them to respond with which keeps them on their toes. Kate (my teammate) used paint chips and that did the trick also!

Attention Signals
 The key to a good attention signal is to use it enough where kids are familiar with it, but not too often that it looses its effectiveness. To combat overusing signals, I record them onto this little chart I made so that I can easily glance throughout the day and be like, "Oh ya, I forgot about that one!" When we learn a new one, we add it to the chart. This is great also for other teachers who are in my room as they know what signals will get my students attention.

Morning Meeting Greetings and Activities
Ugh. I have a love-hate relationships with morning meetings. It's getting better, but I always dread deciding what activity and greeting to do. I have started to pass the responsibility to my Morning Meeting Leader on some days but these little charts have really helped me to keep track of things we've learned to make it a little less painful. I got this idea from my awesome teammate, Kate. It is also nice to walk into her room and see which ones she's taught her class because then it reminds me!

So this has become one of my favorite spaces in my room because it really helps keep my teaching fresh which helps my students be engaged. It's a win-win!



  1. I love this idea! Thank you so much!

    Alley ( or Teaching to Engage)

  2. I love your student response protocols! Do you have them available for download?

  3. I love your student response protocols and give me five signs! Do you have them available for download?


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