At the beginning of the year, my mentor teacher’s default signal to get the attention of his students was the clapping rhythm, “1, 2, 3, and 4,” with which the students were supposed to respond with. This call is so overused and has its place as a near-universal signal. However, it’s not completely effective because students can still talk while responding to the signal. Therefore, I have used class chants as our call to come together, as well as the word tacēte, which the students respect because of our Tacēte Streak.
Natural Progression of Class Chants and Calls
I often defaulted to tacēte, which occurred before the streak, but calls work rather well when the students respond with more than just silence, hence the class chants. Two classes have class chants that turned into class calls. One chant was established because the students struggled with which day they were supposed to be in our class. The class is of sixth graders, and our class is one of two classes they see every other day. Therefore, we used their class period name, B11, as a chant to help them remember which day they came to our class. Many students in B11 would remind me if I never said the class chant before implementing it as a call. The other class chant formed when talking about the death of Julius Caesar during our Roman numerals unit. I told the class a chant I was taught to remember the year Caesar died, “44, Caesar no more.” After we practice the chant, I asked the class if they would like to have this be their class chant. Many students enjoyed the chant and voted it in. When using this chant as a call I start off with “44!” and the students reply, “Caesar no more!”
Both classes with chants had students that thought it would be amusing to say something else as a response when I gave the call. When this occurred I addressed the behavior as inappropriate and explained the importance of responding to the call correctly. If a student says the wrong thing, everyone then giggles at their response and then I have to recollect the class, and because of the Streak, the class loses any streak they have or are closer to having a seating chart assigned.
Students that resisted saying the correct response claimed they were “too cool” to say the chant. I told the student there was no such thing as being, “too cool.” You are never too cool to show you care for something. In our class, we show we care by participating in classroom chants and activities, even if the activities make us look silly. How silly can something be if everyone is doing it?