Tuesday, June 3, 2014

First In Line!

“Okay, time to line-up.”  These are some of the most dangerous words I say all day.  As soon as I say “time to…” my kids are running, pushing, and shoving to be first in line!  Do you have little guys like me that are clamoring to be first in line?  I have this problem very often in my age group, and I guess it is a good problem to have, because it is age appropriate (as I see similar behavior coming form the typical 3rd-5th graders as well1).  
Well, I have tried coaching my kids through this; showing visuals for appropriate line behavior, reinforcing them when they are appropriate in line and making them go to the end when they do anything inappropriate, and it just wasn’t enough.  In past classes, this could be enough to work, but not with this bunch.  So, we started using a visual for line-order.  The kids keep this order for one week, then the person in the front goes to the back and the rest of the line-order remains the same.  I have this posted by the door and the kids’ names are velcroed on, so we can easily switch it each week.
  I placed the kids in the line next to kids they get along with/won’t cause trouble with.  Hopefully, under these conditions, we will be able to master “walking in a line” and “lining up.”  With 13 kids, lining up is actually important for safety.  Getting from one place in the school to another is very difficult if my kids are all over the place or pushing each other out of the way.  I don’t mind if one kid has to stand slightly to the side of the line or another kid wants to run his hand along the wall as he walks to give him a sense of his space.  I really just want to ensure that we all make it in one piece from point A to point B.  This new line-order will also help us work on the concepts of “turn-taking” and “sharing” which all my kids need additional exposure to.  Have you had to do similar interventions in your room?  Have you found them successful?  I did something similar in the past, and was able to eventually fade it out and not have my kids killing each other to be first…here’s to hoping we see that success again!

P.S. This visual is available as a part of my Autism Classroom Set Up product or Behavior Management and Visuals product


  1. I have in the past done the same thing. This year having 14, I line them up according to grade. This helps as there are not as many trying to get to the front first.
    Love your sign about keeping your door closed. We have a similar one.

  2. Unrelated question... With 13 or 14 students, how many paraprofessionals do you guys have in your classrooms? Are your students on approximately the same academic level?

    1. I have 4 paraprofessionals. 2 of them are 1:1 aids and my other 11 students share the other 2 aids. My kids have a huge range of abilities. Some kids are working on basic matching/sorting, while others are reading/working on math facts.

    2. Thanks for your reply! I guess I needed a reality check... I was freaking out about having 9 kiddos for next year (and 3 paras). One student is at the beginning awareness level, 3 can do simple matching etc., and the others are on approximately a second grade level! Any suggestions for planning for all of those different levels would be much appreciated!

  3. Wow! What an idea! My line just ends up as a blob of kids. I would love a copy of the file! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful idea.

    Michelle Bingham
    Miss Hey Miss

    1. I work in an elementary building with students with autism and developmental cognitive delays. This is always an issue & in the past I've used extra student school pics of each student and velcro them in a line by the door. Each day, we move the person in front to the back of the line & it has really alleviated alot of pushing and shoving. I would love to have a copy of this template as well. Thank you!
      Robyn Hummer

  4. Love this- I do this very similarly- I use clothes pins with numbers 1-8 and just move the clothes pins every day. The floor is numbered 1-8 with painters tape. This works well lining up- this does ok when walking through the building but not 100%...But it has helped me bc they all just look at the numbers and get on the right spot!

  5. I never tell my students as a group to "line up" because each one thinks I'm talking to them and they should be first. Our room is small and crowded so as a safety precaution I have used a safe and effective line-up procedure for many years.
    We have a list of students on the back of our door on a piece of cardstock . A clothespin with an arrow is attached to the side of the list. Each day we have a new Leader and I move the clothespin down to the leader's name the first time we line up each morning which is breakfast for us. I call the leaders name and then each student under their name individually. I have learned that the students' do not argue about who the leader is because the "list" keeps us straight. I teach 3rd through 5th graders in a MoID class.
    I only have one leader each day, I don't use classroom helpers. If I need some help I call on my leader. It's just less to keep up with and they love being the leader and teacher helper.

  6. You have such amazing ideas!!! If you can still email me this Line Order template I would love it!! I am looking for something exactly like this! I also love your morning group ideas! I just printed and laminated them and can't wait to use them in September!!! Thanks
    Karyann Kahler