It is the first week of school, and all the teachers are going through the school rules with their students including how to walk in the hallway. Their students are all standing at attention (even the kindergartners) listening attentively and being quiet. They are walking on marshmallow toes or whatever that means. Regardless, it is impressive and looks effortless.
Then there is your class. They often span multiple grade levels and come in all shapes and sizes. They also make all kinds of noises and would be happy to eat marshmallows if you brought a bag to class. But learning how to walk in the hallway can be a challenge. But, with the right amount of structure and motivation, even your class can be standing at attention in the hallway. (Okay, maybe not that still, but doing pretty well.)
I always hated those first few days of teaching the school rules. It took me a few years to figure out the best approach, but once I did my kids could walk in the hallway with minimal disruptions.
Using structured walks to teach hallway behavior
1. Why do structured walks work so well?
- By the name, you can tell they have very specific guidelines. They are structured. (More about that structure below)
- There is a specific job students know they are doing. They are not just walking up and down the hallway. They are looking for something. Looking for something specific.
- Most importantly, there is a very clear ending. Students can see how long the activity will last, and when it will end. This reduces a lot of anxiety and frustration, thus reducing problem behaviors.
2. What do you need?
- You can download a set of symbols to use by clicking the button below.
- 2 copies of the symbols
- Masking tape
- Optional: a large piece of cardboard for a matching template
- Optional: Velcro
3. Procedure (outlined in the download)
- Practice in the classroom first
- Make 2 copies of the pictures using cardstock. Laminate for durability
- Place one set around the school in common locations your students will visit
- Pass out the second set to the students
- Explain the purpose of the walk is to find a picture that matches one they have while following the school rules
- Once all the pictures have been matched, the walk is over
4. Why does it work to teach students how to walk in the hallway?
The structure helps minimize anxiety and makes the walk much more reinforcing. Students focus on finding the symbols which help decrease problem behavior. And, because you practiced and taught the procedure in a safe and quiet environment, the expectations are clear.
5. Fading out the symbols
You will, of course, want to fade the use of the pictures as time goes on. Use fewer and fewer pictures that are spaced father and father apart.
But, be cautious of fading too quickly. Use this strategy to walk in the hallway for at least 2 weeks before attempting to fade it out.
Need more practice? Check out my unit, Walking to Class. It has:
- Book (PowerPoint) you can edit
- Power card to carry as a reminder