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Students are lining up. The teacher is using strategies for getting kids to line up quickly and quietly

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Line Students Up Quickly & Quietly - And Make It Fun

As a teacher, you know that lining up students quickly and quietly is essential for a well run classroom. But sometimes getting everyone in line can be a gigantic challenge. And making it a routine that’s fun and builds community and learning gives it even more of a challenge.

With a little planning and some creative thinking, you can have your students lining up, learning and ready for the hall in no time. 

This post will give you some quick teacher tips on how to line your student up quickly and quietly and with some fun and learning.

Rather watch a video with simple teacher hacks for fun ways to get kids lined up quickly & quietly?

Lining Students Up - Fast & Fun Summary

Here’s a summary of quick tips you will get today on getting kids lined up and out the door (read below to get the specifics and detailed how-to):

  • Set the expectation when you teach how to  line up. Tell them how they should walk, stand, voice level. Be very specific.
  • Use an auditory cue to notify students they will be lining up. 
  • Use a visual cue to show them where to stand. 
  • Line students up, with a twist. Line them up according to personal information such as clothing, birthday, likes & dislikes. 
  • Exit the room silently using a song or chant to set the expectation for leaving the classroom.
  • Use fun strategies to keep kids quiet and lined up while in the hallway.
  • Practice the routine of lining up. Then practice again. Remember to reward and recognize when your students are doing an excellent job. 

Teacher Fail - First Time I Tried To Line Students Up

It was my first day of teaching kindergarten. They knew how to line up? Right??? Nope. As soon as I said line up I knew I had made a mistake.  Sure some kids lined up. But they were way too close to each other. Then the pushing started. Then the yelling. (Mostly the pushing and yelling came from me… jokes, but I really wanted to yell and push.) Then there were kids who weren’t anywhere near lined up. One kid was looking at books. Another was looking in the mirror and primping her curls. Another was digging in his backpack. Yikes…. I was already late for PE class. Stress x 1000.

Expectations Of Lining Up

We know we need to teach routines but there’s a step that comes before the teaching of a routine. What is it? Setting an expectation of behavior in your own mind.

Ask yourself these questions:

What do I want from my students? 

How should they walk? 

How should they stand? 

What’s the noise level? 

How long should it take? 

Will they all just line up or will I dismiss them to the line?

How will I dismiss them to the line? 

How do I want them to walk in the hall? 

Is there any way to make it fun? 

Is there any way to throw some learning into it? 

Will there be a reward for excellent behavior?

Answering these questions can be tough. Keep reading to get some tips and tricks on lining up your students.

How Kids Stand In Line. TIMBER!!!

If you’ve ever seen kindergarten and first grade kids stand in a line you know they have very little knowledge of personal space or how much space there needs to be between them and the person in front of them. 

Watch out because there can be a domino effect that happens until they have it figured out.

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Best Tool For Getting Kids To Form A Safe Line.

Carpet dots are an amazing way to get kids in line, spaced evenly and safely. And they have an added benefit. You can easily take attendance quickly if you label each spot with a student assigned number.  Empty spot = missing kid.

line students up with sit spot cut into 4s and labeled 1-4 to help with lining up kids

Hacks To Line Students Up

You’ve probably lined your students up by saying. “If you have on red, please line up.”

But we are going to take it one step further. 

I don’t know about you but some of my students had a really hard time remembering the month and day of their birthday.

They love their birthday but jeez louise, why can’t they remember the exact day? Well help them remember by saying, 

“If you were born in May, please get in line.” 

Then when they have that down say, “If your birthday month starts with an “O”, please line up.


Kids getting in line according to birthday attributes 1

Then when they have that say,  “If you were born on an even number day, please line up.”  

“If you were born on a day greater than 10 please line up.” 

“If you were born on a day less than 12-2, please line up.”

4 kids with backpacks saying "Shhhh" while lining up

See what I’m doing there. You can do some much around the all important birthday info. You are building relationships because anytime anyone shows interest in their birthday, well let’s just say they are going to love you a little more.

What If You Want Them Lined Up Super Fast?

In my class when my students heard a specific song they knew it was time to line-up. I didn’t have to say anything. Just put on the song and they knew exactly what they needed to do. Walk to the line, stand on their spot, face forward, hands down, silent voice- do it fast. It was magic.In my class when my students heard a specific song they knew it was time to line-up. I didn’t have to say anything. Just put on the song and they knew exactly what they needed to do. Walk to the line, stand on their spot, face forward, hands down, silent voice- do it fast. It was magic.

If you don’t have a song to play you can make up a chant. When they hear the chant they join in and get themselves in line.

Hallway Behavior

Getting your kids lined up is only half the battle. Getting them from point A-B is probably the hardest part. They are no longer in the confined space of your class. They have to move with a group and you really want the line to be quiet. 

So here’s some tricks for keeping the hallway line quiet.

Secret Walker

Whoever thought of this is a genius. (PS it was NOT me.) Before exiting the class you tell your students you will be watching to see if a secret walker is doing all the behaviors expected. If that secret walker does an amazing job there will be a reward. If not no reward. This works.

Quiet Coyote

I got this from a substitute teacher in our building. Before the kids left the room he would put up 

his hand like it was in a puppet. Then he’d say “Quiet Coyote”. The kids would put up their hands and they were silent. They’d all walk down the hallway with their quiet coyote hands in the air. It worked.

Put a Bubble In Your Mouth

Again whoever thought of this is my hero. Before you leave the classroom you say to your students. “Put a bubble in your mouth.” Then they do. When you get to the destination you can let them “pop” it or you can “pop” it when they walk by you by saying “pop” and pretending to do a little poke to their bubble.

Compliment Brownie

If my class received a compliment while we walked in the hallway they would get a “brownie” in a brownie pan. After the pan was full of brownies I would treat them to a real brownie party. 

Now I know that some people have a hard time rewarding kids with food. So think of something else. The big take away you should get is when you reward kids for a behavior, what’s really happening is that they are forming the habit of walking in the hall correctly. Pretty soon they won’t need a reward and you can work on some other classroom behavior.

Teaching Students To Line Up Quickly and Quietly

Now you have a few more strategies for getting your students lined up. Yahoo for you. Want more classroom management tips? These are some favorites:

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Angie K

Angie K

I love to help teachers create an amazing teacher life.
I've taught for 25+ years and I want to help you find joy and energy in each day.

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