I Solemnly Swear Your Class Can Listen!

Teaching is tough! Some days it feels like you say the same thing again and again and again…and yet again! Does anyone in this room even know I am up here talking??

I have a little secret that I have been using for years! It works like a charm when you have an important message to deliver that you need every pair of ears to hear. Part of the magic of this trick is humor and part of the magic is novelty. (It’s like my favorite teacher t-shirt, I LOVE it but I’m not going to wear it every day- it will get worn out fast!)

This trick requires no preparation, no prizes, and no shouting over 24 voices. Here is an easy step-by-step guide to get your entire class to really listen at the same time!

Step 1: Face your class and have everyone stand up
Step 2: Tell kids to raise their right hands. (Say “no other right hand” “Switch hands” “That’s still your left”)
Step 3: Turn around and model which one is the right hand
Step 4: Tell your students “Repeat after me.”
Step 5: Begin with “I, first grader” or “I, third grader” or whatever
Step 6:  Add “do solemnly swear…”
Step 7: Finish with exactly what you want them to do. Remember to break the direction into pieces so they can repeat you!

I also discuss with my class about what it means to take an oath. An oath is a promise so by repeating the oath they are agreeing to follow the direction. We talk about the consequence if someone does not follow the oath. So if you still get covered in mud because you were not following the line, there will be a consequence. #dontruinmyrug Every once in a while, I just make the oath funny. They love it, and it ensures that they want to listen each time I start a new oath.

Am I a proud that I make kids take a oath to bring me Snickers every October? Maybe. Maybe not. But I have kids in 5th grade who still bring me Snickers the day after trick or treat! I solemnly swear that I will love them forever!

So if you’re tired of shouting or you feel like half of your class isn’t listening, try making them take an oath! Let me know if try it out and how it goes!

Emily Yerty

Emily Yerty

I’m a first grade teacher who believes in creating a classroom kids love and activities that keep them engaged all day!

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