Using non-verbal signals in the classroom cuts down on the noise and on possible confusion. It is a clear and direct way to get the children's attention, or to let them share something with me or others without having to tell us. Here are some signals we use:
Signals for the whole group:
The triangle: One high pitched strike on the triangle means stop your work and come to the line. We use this when we have whole group lessons or when it's time to gather for something. It is a whole group signal.
The soft voices bell: When the volume escalates a bit too much, I touch two little Sri Lankan bells together and it's supposed to remind the children to use a softer voice when talking.
"Silence": When written on a small chalkboard and shown across the room, the children know we are starting a whole group silence game.
Bird in and out of the nest picture: my friend Annie has a picture of a bird in a nest that flips to the other side where the bird is out of the nest. She uses this as a signal for going outside.
Bathroom sign: The bathroom may be used by one person at a time and when you go in, you turn the sign to "stop" and when you leave, you flip it to "go".
Garden Work Necklace: One person may choose to work outside by donning the Garden Work necklace. It lets me know someone is outside when I don't see it hanging on its hook.
Walking on the line necklace: One person may walk on the line at a time with the necklace on. This prevents the confusion of two people approaching the line at the same time.
The lunch chefs chart: Lets the children know which three people will be working in the kitchen making lunch that day.
(If you have signals for other things, post them in comments!)