This year, I meet with about eight students on the carpet. That would be eight students max. This leaves plenty of room to spread out and create some new problems that I never really had with a full class. Problems like kids sitting way at the back of the carpet no matter how many times I remind them to move up. I even had one child rolling around on the carpet during the lesson. Rolling as in tucking his legs and arms and rolling like a Weebles from one end to the other! This called for some carpet rules STAT! Here's the poster I made that is taped to the bottom of my chart stand.
Rather than come up with more rules, I went with carpet manners. Manners sends the message that it is all about being polite to others and ready to learn! I'm sure we all have different behaviors we expect, but for my kids these seemed to be the ones that were most needed.
1. Sit Pretzel Style - There was a lot of lying down on tummies or on their sides with head propped up in their hand. I'm okay with this for some carpet work but not when I'm giving direct instruction. We also sit M&M style sometimes, but I didn't add that to the poster. This is an example of what we call M&M sitting, even though its just one M:
I think it is sometimes called a W position, but M&M sounds more fun! I have some kids that prefer to sit this way. Honestly, I would have to break some bones to make my legs do this now! :-) It is totally for young knees only!
2. Face the Speaker - This means the teacher or turning to any other person speaking. With my small group, we usually sit in a semi-circle so that helps this work a lot.
3. Place Materials in Front - Notebooks, pencils, novels, etc. sit on the carpet in front of you until needed.
4. Listen Actively - I had fun modeling what active listening does and does not look like with the kids. They were completely offended when I turned away from them and started looking around the room or looked down and began playing with my shoes while they were talking to me! Got my point across rather quickly!
5. Raise our Hands to Speak - I don't always need this one as with such small groups we often have more natural conversations that don't require hand raising.
The poster is just a Word document on two pages that I printed, taped together, and laminated. If you would like a copy of Carpet Manners for your own, you can download it by clicking HERE.