When I first started teaching first grade, I was so overwhelmed by the constant neediness of my students. I loved these kids to pieces, but they wore. me. out. It felt like I was being asked something every single second of the day. I know there are teachers are there who are like magic. They have the most amazing classroom management and it looks so peaceful. For me, classroom management did not come quickly. It took me years to get it! One of the things I started doing early on was the use of visuals to cut down on some of the questions. (The ones below are obviously updated with cuter clip art!)
Here's how they work:
I would have these little signs (or another version of them) on my white board at all times. They didn't take up much space because they were on the side. I also didn't necessarily use them all at all times.
I mainly used the fountain, bathroom, sharpener the most. When the white side was up, that meant it was not a time to use the bathroom or get a drink or sharpen a pencil. When I flipped it to the picture side, that meant it was an appropriate time. They usually gave me a signal to use the bathroom or get a drink, instead of asking. When I taught my students about these signs, I made a bigger deal about flipping them so that they could learn, but then later, I would do it more discretely. The expectation was that they would look up and see the sign and know whether or not they could ask.
The folder and turn in signs were always up, but only one of them had the picture showing. All assignments would either be turned in or placed in their folder. I would show them which was correct by having one of the visuals displayed and the other side blank. Nowadays I would just laminate it so that it would be ONE card that I could turn over.
Finally, the voices quiet and in our seats signs were because there were many parts of the day where students could be moving around or working together (so talking.) Then there were those times that I just needed their full attention. For those times, these signs would be up as a visual reminder.
I had the dot on both sides so that I could freely flip the signs back and forth.
If you would like to download these FREE signs, you can get them here.