Thursday, March 3, 2016

How To Use The Mystery Walker Strategy - A Guest Post By Cascade Into Second Grade

Hi, Teachers!

I've asked my old student teacher Nicole to write a guest post on my blog. She is a wildly, fabulously talented first-year teacher, and you can check out her TPT store here. She has a tip about walking in the hallway for you!

Enjoy. :)

Hi! I’m Nicole Ruggiero and I am a first year teacher. Being a first year teacher is HARD! (as I am sure you all can attest to…) But I’ve discovered some strategies that have helped me thus far and I would like to share one of them with you! I teach second grade and I have a challenging group who loves to talk! They love to socialize with each other, which is great, however it’s not so great while we are transitioning to a special or lunch and we have to walk in the hallway…
 During the first few months of teaching, I found myself struggling to keep my students quiet in the hallway. I would quiet the front of the line and turn around to quiet the back of the line and then find the students at the front talking again! So frustrating! That is, until one of my colleagues introduced me to the wonders of the Mystery Walker! Here’s how it works: First, you need to choose one of your students at random—but don’t tell them who it is! Sometimes I pick two to keep them on their toes! (I usually just pick them myself, but another teacher I know uses a name cup to pick the student(s).) The first few times you do it, you should announce to the class that you are looking for a mystery walker so that they will remember the expectations that you have for them (line up quietly, walk silently in the hallway, walk facing forward with hands not touching the walls, etc.). But after that, just giving the students a meaningful look, signaling that you are looking for one of them who could be a mystery walker, will be enough for them to start exhibiting the desired behaviors. Then, start walking in the hallway! When you reach your destination and if the student(s) you chose followed all of the rules you have laid out for walking in the hallway, they will receive recognition or a reward of your choosing.
 Now it may seem like it might be hard to keep track of the students that you choose, and as a teacher, you really don’t need one more thing to keep track of, but I came up with a way to record it that works for me. I don’t know about the rest of you, but if I have a piece of paper lying around somewhere, it is inevitably going to get lost. So what I have done is I printed out a small checklist (around 1.5 in. x 2.5 in.) with my students' names on it, laminated, punched a hole at the top and now I wear it on my lanyard around my neck with my ID. Since it’s around my neck, it's never lost! I use a wet erase marker to check off the students who I have chosen and once everyone is chosen, I start again! I use a wet erase marker since it is harder to wipe off than a dry erase but still easy enough to get off so I can reuse the checklist over and over again.
Something else that I do that reinforces the expectation that they should be silent in the hallway is for my students to put up a “silent coyote.” A silent coyote is when students put one finger to their lips and make a “coyote” with their other hand and raise it in the air. The way to make a coyote is by leaving your pointer finger and pinky up and having your middle and ring finger touch your thumb (it looks almost like the rock and roll hand gesture). My students really like doing this and it’s great because it’s both a physical and visual reminder that they are expected to be silent.
 So if you have students who love to talk in the hallway like I do, try this strategy! This has really worked with my class and we get compliments for walking in the hallway on a daily basis! Happy teaching! How do you get your students to walk quietly in line? Comment below! Also, don't forget to check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store for some resources to teach math and literacy.

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