*This post was co-written and edited by all the grade 1 and grade 2 students in Room 108. They offered ideas, I wrote them on the Smart Board, and we edited as we went along. *
We use some special non-verbal signs so that we don’t disturb Kelly and other kids in our class when they are working.
When we have to go to the washroom, first we find a partner. Then we go up to Kelly and we make eye contact before we show the sign that we need to go to the washroom. We hold up two fingers that look like a V and it means, “My buddy and I (our two fingers!) want to go to the washroom.” Kelly signs yes with a thumbs up, or she signs no with a thumbs down. Sometimes she puts her thumb sideways and it means we have to wait until another group comes back. Before we leave the room, we put a pylon on our nameplates so that Kelly knows who is in the hallways (just in case there’s a fire drill!). We take a hall pass from a hook that is near the door and we hang it up when we get back.
When we are thirsty, first we check to see if our water bottles are full and then we have a drink. If it is not full then we walk to Kelly, make eye contact and then show the 3 finger sign (it looks like a “W” and stands for “water”!). Kelly signs yes with a thumbs up, or she signs no with a thumbs down. Sometimes she puts her thumb sideways and it means we have to wait. After that, we go and take a drink from the fountain or we fill our water bottles from the fountain. In the end, we put our lids on tight when we're done and we come to the carpet if it is time for a lesson or we keep working at our tables.
When I want to use the loud sharpener, I make eye contact with Kelly, then make the capital L sign and show it to her. She will give me a thumbs up for yes, or a thumbs down for no. If it’s really quiet and we want to keep it that way, like if she’s reading with someone and doesn’t want it to be loud, she will give a thumbs down. Then, I’ll get put the broken pencil in the Pencil Sharpener’s Bin and get another pencil from a table or I’ll get a quiet sharpener.
When we are having a class discussion and we hear something that makes us think about something else (a connection to ourselves, a text, or the world), we make the Connection sign. First you take your thumb and pointer finger together with your thumb and pointer finger on your other hand, and you connect them like a chain. After that, we wiggle them back and forth. Kelly will notice and say “Hey! Someone’s making a connection to what we’re talking about.”
I Have an Idea
When we are sitting at the carpet and we want to share, we put our thumbs up in front of our tummies and wait. We don’t wave our hands high in the air, because it can be unsafe and distracting to other kids that are trying to learn, listen and think.
When we want to agree with something someone has said during a class discussion, we make the I Agree sign. First, we make our thumb and pointer finger like an “o”, then we put our other three fingers up in the air (it looks like the “OK” sign). After that, we wiggle it back and forth. We don’t have to shout out “Me too!”, or “I have the same idea!” we can show everyone quietly, by making the I Agree sign. Sometimes, Kelly will notice and she’ll tell the class that we share the same ideas!
In our Room 108 Classroom Community, we foster an engaging, respectful and caring environment. I aim to balance a consistent program with flexible responsiveness to students' individual needs.