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Using Hand Signals in the Classroom

Hand signals have changed my classroom environment and my life as a teacher! Teaching primary grades I have found younger children have a difficulty understanding when is a good time to move around and the times that they should remain in their seats. Even if you use flexible seating in your classroom, hand signals can be used the same.
We know as teachers that when one child asks to use the restroom then 10 others will follow. When students ask permission using hand signals, these minimize distractions of their peers around them. Students don't use their words to ask for something, they use their different finger signals to show their individual needs.
Classroom signs are posted in my classroom showing signals 1-5. Below you will see my signals for each number. After a few weeks my students memorize the signals and don't utilize the signs posted in the classroom as much.
1- restroom
2- pencil
3- tissue
4- water
5- question or comment
The great thing about signals is that you don't even have to respond using your own words to let them know they may or may not do what they are asking to do. For example if a student has a restroom need they hold up number 1 and when I notice them I nod my head and they quietly get up and excuse themselves from the classroom. Most of the time the other students don't even notice them doing this.  Hand signals teach students respect, responsibility and manners while you focus on a positive classroom environment.
Download my classroom hand signal posters here and start implementing hand signals in your classroom today!