#1 "Chicken, Airplane, Soldier"
I tell them to repeat after me and do my actions. I say a word and show an action to go with it and they have to echo back with the same action saying the same word. “Chicken” is chicken wings. “Airplane” is hands straight out on either side of you like airplane wings. “Soldier” is hands down and at your side. This is the basic pattern to get all of their hands to themselves and get them on track with the class. THEN I add in some fun things. A lot of these extra actions come and go with the seasons. We love adding new ones. It’s really easy to add “cow” with two little horns on your head and a “moo”ing sound. Then “unicorn” with one spike in the middle of your head. “Elephant” is fun with one arm turning into a long nose.
This can seriously go on forever. I usually intersperse these with “Chicken, Airplane, soldier” because that’s what I’ll end with and that’s the most important. Seasonal actions come in too with “Pumpkin” “Turkey” “Reindeer” and so on. Endless opportunities and so easy.
Then at the very end, add another “Chicken, Airplane, Soldier” and then they’re out your door with their hands in their own spaces. Check out the pictures below to see just a few of the variations we've come up with.
#2 The “Hair Stare!”
All you have to do is tell students to do the “Hair Stare.” I tell them “Hair Stare!” and follow up with “Stare at the hair of the person in front of you.” As long as they keep their eyes trained on the hair of the person in front of them they won’t be looking other places, they’ll have to be right behind the other kid so that they’re staring correctly, and they’ll be mostly stationary. This gets their heads in one long line really quickly and when accompanied with the next trick it usually keeps them lined up straight. I’ve had a couple bounce-back comments like “but the person in front of me doesn’t have any hair” and I’ve had students stare so closely that their noses are touching the kids in front of them. Generally, this is not an issue for anyone except those kids who already have the line issues anyway. :D
3) “3, 2, 1, Freeze!” The Statue Game
There are a bunch of variations that you can take with this game. One of my favorites for older or smart-alecky classes (after they’ve done the normal version a few times) is to say, “Okay, now I’m going to make it harder. Hair Stare. Put one hand straight out away from your body pointed towards the wall. Now… 3…2…1… FREEZE!” and then they have to stand their with their arm hanging in the middle of the air. I only ever do this with 4th and 5th grade classes who aren’t moving at all with the normal version and when I can’t catch a kid moving and send them to the end. It really becomes an endurance game then. Or, sometimes I’ll try and trick them by saying something like “Okay” instead of “relax” to get them to move when they aren’t supposed to. Or I might “drop” a set of rhythm sticks or a ball or something to see if someone moves. At that point it’s me trying to see who will laugh or move when I drop the item and it really does become a game. I've also had kid "monitors" come out and watch for other kids who are moving but that can sometimes turn into a problem. I like it better when I'm the one watching. It’s a great time-killer for those shorts time slots when you don’t want them to totally digress into kidness but don’t want to just stand there.