Saturday, July 12, 2014

You "Oughta" Know About...Finger Management!

I am so excited to participate in a fun blog hop called "You Oughta Know" with Jasmine from Buzzing with  Mrs. McClain
Don't you absolutely love the title??  I think it is so catchy!  Especially when you find out what it is about...
Have you ever sat in a colleagues classroom and something catches your eye?  When you inquire about it, they tell you and you think ---- Wow!  How have I never done that?

This is just like that --- but virtually and through blogging.  What a brilliant idea.  I can hardly wait to read about all the a-ha's my fellow teacher bloggers have to share.  I'm pretty sure I will find some great new ideas I haven't used and so will you!!

So what is Finger Management, you ask?  I'm sure some of you already have something like it in place.  This little system is one I have used for years now.  This is my 14th year teaching and I have to admit, it is one of the most used classroom management systems I have and I can't imagine life without it.

In the beginning I used ASL signs for students to signal if they wanted to go to the restroom.  I loved it but I needed some other quick signals for daily questions.  You know: 
"Can I get a drink of water?"
"Can I sharpen my pencil?"
"Can I get a tissue?"
"Can I?"
"Can I?"
"Can I?"
And this is what I probably look like when all those questions begin to come at me all at once.

The amount of questions found in a classroom from day to day can be great in quantity.  Having a system in place that eliminates the need to vocally ask those questions that EVERYONE has, is a wonderful thing.  It really eliminates so many taps on the shoulder/waist (or other?!), anonymous voices from across the room & interruptions during read-aloud time, small group work, or whole class instruction.  So I came across this idea (I'm pretty sure from a MAILBOX magazine because that's what we did before Pinterest & TPT).  It suggested to assign those common questions to a number of fingers held up.
For example: Holding up 1 finger = restroom
2 = tissue
3 = pencil
4 = drink of water
5 = another question
I simply included this management system into my procedures and it worked like a charm!  It not only eliminated the crazy teacher syndrome but created a classroom atmosphere with less chaos than normal.  Who wouldn't want that??

So then, TPT comes out and WAHOOZA!!  Jodi from Clutter Free Classrom has these cute little signs that fit with the idea. It was probably one of my first purchases ever!

You can find it in Clutter-Free Classroom's TPT store HERE.
You can also visit her blog and she even has a video about it.  Click the picture below and take a look.

So that is is my first "You Oughta Know" post!  I hope it finds some of you in a state of "now why haven't I done that?"  Be sure to follow the hop and learn some other great a-ha's!


  1. Great system and cute signs!

    Thanks for the post!

  2. Great idea! This is much more efficient than listening to 10,000 questions!

    The Math Maniac

  3. I did this when I taught fourth grade and LOVED it! I only used 1 for bathroom though...all the other ones I had other procedures or routines for. It worked beautifully! My students were able to silently signal they needed to use the restroom and they were able to learn that eye contact and a head nod or shake meant yes or no! Why I forgot to do this last year with my second graders, I'm not sure! Thanks for the reminder!

    Theresa @ True Life I'm a Teacher!

  4. This is definitely an idea I plan to implement this year! Thanks for the tips!

  5. Hand signals are a sanity saver!
    Now following you! I enjoyed looking through your blog :)

    Second Grade Sweetie Pies

  6. Love this idea! I use a ton of sign language in my classroom and this would be an easy and natural addition. I saw signs like this in a colleague's classroom toward the end of the year and I meant to ask her about them. Love it!

    Forever First Grade

  7. I've seen these before and always wondered how well they worked. I've used just the ASL sign for bathroom with my kiddos, but I love that there are signs for all the constant requests.

  8. I'm a big fan of the hand signals as well. I've never thought about posting posters with the signs. Great tip.
    Amber (new follower)
    School Is a Happy Place

  9. I am familiar with hand signals but I have never used them in my classroom. I think that they would be helpful during center time. I have a center monitor who manages questions when I am teaching in my small group. My students could use these hand signals to let the center monitor know what they need. Thanks for sharing how you use them in your classroom!

    Buzzing With Mrs. McClain