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Tap Off


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Here’s a good idea from Bo Bohannon, Pace, Florida.  Grades K-8.  

How many times have you asked yourself the question, “How can I get my classes to line up and be quiet without yelling or blowing a whistle?” There is a method that I have been using for the past 22 years that works well for me.


  • Listening
  •  Following directions

Directions: I first have my students in a straight, single-file line. Then I have each student place his right hand on the right shoulder of the person in front of him, with their arms extended. At the same time, I have them place their left hands over their own mouths. These actions are done as I give the command, “Tap Off.” The extended arm helps to form a straight line. The hand over the mouth helps students to get quiet.

The key to making this work is the way the students remove their hands from the shoulder of the person in front, and then from their own mouths. This is done on the command, “Hands Down!” When “Hands Down” is called, the right hand comes off the shoulder of the person in front, down to the student’s right side, and the student yells “One!” This sound is somewhat muffled because the left hand is still over the mouth. The left hand comes off the mouth to the student’s left side, and the student yells “Two!” So, on the command of “Hands Down,” there will be an enthusiastic response of “One-Two!”

These actions get the attention of any student who is not paying attention or who may be talking. You can repeat the command “Hands Down,” and the class” response (“One-Two!!”) gets louder. This is fun for the students to see how much attention they can draw from outside their group.

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