Do you ever have students who start moving before you’re finished giving directions – like as soon as they hear the first step, they think it’s time to go? It used to happen in my classroom ALL. THE. TIME. Then a few minutes later, I’d have a little sweetie asking, “What do I do next?” and I’d have to repeat the whole thing again. Then somebody else would ask, and I would have to say it again. And again. And again. Instead of helping students with the actual work, I would just be repeating instructions and it didn’t feel like the best way to use my time.
Well, I found a solution that’s super easy! I call it the Magic Word and I’ve been using it in my classroom for a few years now. Here’s how it works: before I start giving directions, I’ll say something like, “Don’t move until I say the Magic Word. The Magic Word is fluffernutter.” Then I give ALL the directions and it truly is magic: those kids are still sitting right there, hanging on my every word, trying to catch me say that Magic Word. It’s simply beautiful.
Now, let’s be honest, there are always going to be a couple kiddos who need the directions a second (or third) time. But this little trick has drastically cut down the number of times I’m repeating myself! And if I ever forget to give them a Magic Word, they’ll remind me. Sometimes they’ll request one when it isn’t even necessary. That’s how much they love it!
To keep it fresh and exciting, I choose a new Magic Word every day and it’s usually something silly or that relates to what we’re learning. The sillier the better! Here’s some inspiration:
- ham sandwich
You can use random silly words, or you can incorporate vocabulary words! If it’s fire safety week, I might use words like extinguisher, fire hydrant, or smoke detector. If we’re learning about animals in winter, I could use hibernate, migrate, or adapt. Then when you introduce the day’s Magic Word, you can review what that word means. Sometimes I’ll even ask students about the word while they’re doing the work, but be careful not to start asking them about it right AFTER you’ve given the directions and said the Magic Word…or they’ll forget what they’re supposed to do and you’ll be right back to square one (I’ve only made that mistake a few times…).
I invite you to give Magic Word a try in your classroom – I think you’ll love it! Not only is it a great management tool, it also adds a little silliness to your day, which will make those little darlings love you even more (if that’s even possible!).