My students came up with a ‘Top Ten’ list of things I say. The complete list of sayings they brainstormed contained a mix of routines and reminders as well as peaks into my personality. To an outsider the list wouldn’t make much sense so here is the annotated version.
#10 “Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen!”
OK. That one is pretty obvious. I great each student, by name, as they enter my room. When the bell rings I enter the room while saying this.
#9 “Please finish the sentence you are on, put a bookmark in your book, and be ready to correct your DLR.”
Our first morning transition. They read, silently, after completing their Daily Language Review (DLR). This is the second thing they hear me say every. single. day.
#8 “Would you like to hear a G story?”
Having a toddler is amusing, but I don’t want to force her stories on them so I always ask first.
#7 “This is an independent activity.”
This statement is a simple way to get the volume turned off when they are getting too chatty. (I have also started making quips about their pencils, books, etc., being voice activated and asking where they have found such amazing technology.)
#6 “You or your chair?”
This is a choice I give my students. They can either keep their chair, all four legs, on the floor OR they can sit on the floor.
#5 “No elephants.”
It turns out that I talk about elephants in two, completely unrelated areas. We talk about labeling our ‘elephants’ in math. I have never had a math problem that the answer was ________ elephants. (It is possible, just doesn’t seem to come up in the problems we do.) So, as an attempt to remind them to label their work we talk about ‘elephants’. If someone gives an answer without the label I will ask “elephants?” Which they clue into pretty fast after the first couple of days of school.
This spot on the ‘Top Ten’ list has nothing to do with math. It is actually my way of reminding them to tread quietly on the stairs. Yes, this is ironic as elephants do walk rather quietly, but a herd of elephants is what was brought to mind as they take off up or down the stairs without thinking about how they are stepping.
#4 “Go away.”
I start out the year saying ‘You may go’, but somewhere along the way it turns to this – always delivered with a smile and used as they, happily, head to recess and lunch.
This is my ‘word’. Instructions are given that can be completed once I say ‘the word’. Once everyone is on board with what is happening I say (or write) ‘Go!’
#2 “Bless you.”
If someone sneezes, and I hear it, these words come out of my mouth. It is absolute habit.
Ah, ‘bummer’. The simplest explanation would be to have you read about Love and Logic. It boils down to choices and the consequences for poor choices. Sometimes the consequence is known and all I need to say is, “bummer”. Sometimes the consequence is yet to be decided and “bummer” is the place holder until we have time for the next step. If they are unsure of what will happen I reassure them not to worry. They know the consequence will come and they will get to have their say in it, sometimes more say than they want. “Bummer!”