I think a very important tool, especially at recess, is a whistle. When the children rush outside for recess most likely other children are also present. The numerous children are only a problem when rounding them up at the end of recess. I often have trouble remembering twenty-five students, but it’s extra difficult finding them amongst a crowd of seventy students. Yes, it could be that many if there’s three classes that average of twenty-five students, 25 x 3= 75. Translation: Too many children to count. I may not notice Sara without her pink sweater that she took off from playing on the monkey bars. (She’ll also forget the sweater and want to go back to retrieve it at math.) So, what is the solution to gather all my students? A very powerful whistle.
Now, I started with a flimsy toy whistle that was honestly a joke. I think it was for a prize bag instead of actually making noise. The ‘whistle’ sounded faint as though it died and even started with nothing. I swear spit flew out the sides instead of producing a loud sound.
Well, I really needed to fix the problem to gather my students and line up. And it’s also a safety device if I need their attention quickly. I requested a powerful whistle for Christmas and my wish was granted. It’s a ‘wind storm’ whistle. The name alone scares me. I’ve only blown the full force a few times, since it’s a very loud and powerful outdoors whistle. Trust me, there should be absolutely no reason why Jimmy doesn’t hear me while he’s a short distance playing on the swings. Some students automatically run when they hear the fearful cry of the whistle, but others try to pretend as though the sound magically stopped a short distance away. I give more than two warnings when I know they’re taking advantage of a new person for the day who must think ‘She’s too stupid to think I’ll stop playing just for her with a silly whistle’. However, I’ve given time outs when the stragglers finally come after seeing the entire class lined up.
The headache of gathering many children from all over the playground is simple, keep a powerful whistle nearby. However, don’t blow full force near others – you may cause them not to hear you next time.