In the bustling, LOUD corridors of schools there exists a fundamental lesson—an introduction to the art of being considerate. It’s a lesson that extends beyond the confines of school walls, teaching young minds the essence of caring for others and respecting shared spaces. This blog post will help you to uncover the significance of effective lining up and walking in line which is one of the first steps towards instilling civility in the hearts of our students. It is well worth the effort to spend time teaching students this.

Expectations for Walking in Line

Students are not born knowing that walking in line is the considerate way to move through a school or other spaces shared with a lot of people. This technique is a proven method that effectively imparts walking in line skills while fostering discipline and respect. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown:

1. Describe Positive Behavior

To set the stage for effective learning, it’s crucial to begin by describing the positive behavior you intend to model. In this case, the positive behavior is walking in line considerately. Teachers emphasize the importance of walking quietly and safely to maintain a focused school environment. The objective is clear: students learn that this behavior is not just about following rules but about caring for others and school property. By highlighting the purpose behind the behavior, teachers create a context that makes the lesson more meaningful to students.

2. Model the Behavior

Actions speak louder than words. Designate a student to lead the line while you, the teacher, walk behind. During this demonstration, maintain a steady pace, ensuring that the distance between you and the student is neither too close nor too far. Use a quiet voice to point out elements of considerate walking, such as avoiding disruption and respecting personal space. This modeling not only shows students what is expected but also provides them with a real-time example to emulate.

3. Ask Students What They Noticed

Engagement is key to effective learning. After the demonstration, prompt students with open-ended questions, such as “What did you notice about how I walked in line?” Encourage them to observe and articulate their observations. This step not only checks comprehension but also encourages active participation and critical thinking.

4. Ask Students to Model the Same Behavior

Transitioning from passive observation to active participation, invite students to demonstrate the same considerate walking behavior you modeled. By actively involving them, you empower students to put theory into practice, enhancing their understanding and retention of the lesson.

5. Ask Students What They Noticed

Following the student demonstration, engage students once again by asking, “How did [student’s name] show us safe and quiet walking in line?” This step reinforces the lesson by encouraging students to reflect on their peers’ actions and reinforces the positive behavior they observed.

6. Have the Class Practice

Now, it’s time to put theory into practice collectively. Guide the entire class in practicing walking in line considerately. Reinforce that this is not just about adhering to rules but about creating a harmonious and respectful environment. As they practice together, students internalize the lesson and experience firsthand the benefits of considerate behavior.

7. Provide Feedback

To wrap up this interactive learning experience, provide constructive feedback to the students. Acknowledge their efforts and highlight the positive behaviors they exhibited during the practice. This feedback not only reinforces the desired behavior but also boosts students’ confidence and motivation to continue acting considerately.

Through Modeling, teaching proper behavior for walking in line transforms a routine activity into a profound lesson in discipline, respect, and the art of living harmoniously with others. It lays the groundwork for a civilized society, where individuals understand the importance of caring for one another and the shared spaces they occupy.

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Benefits of Lining Up Routines and Procedures

Order and Discipline

  • Chaotic behavior during transitions underscores the need for discipline and supervision.
  • Lining up routines and procedures act as calming agents, ensuring smooth transitions.

Comfort and Safety

  • Routines and procedures foster a sense of safety and comfort among students.


  • Walking in line serves as a security measure, helping to identify authorized individuals.

Differentiated Expectations

  • Various areas within the school have their distinct expectations and rules.

Timely Pickup

  • Punctuality in collecting students is essential for maintaining order.
  • Community agreements regarding prompt pickup address issues promptly.

Learning Focus

  • Lining up routines establish orderly and secure environments that facilitate a focused learning atmosphere.

Actionable Strategies for Effective Lining Up and Walking in Line

  • Use Heavy Work Activities Before Transitions
    Begin your school day with activities that require physical effort, such as wall pushes, jumping jacks, frog jumps, or chair dips. These activities offer calming and organizing input to the proprioceptive system, preparing students for transitions. By engaging in these exercises, students can release excess energy, allowing them to enter the next phase of their day with a greater sense of focus and readiness.
  • Establish Stop Signs and Checkpoints
    To maintain order during transitions, consider setting up designated stop signs or checkpoints strategically around the school building. These spots serve as valuable pause points where students can regroup, teachers can maintain order, and everyone can ensure they’re adhering to hallway rules. Stop signs and checkpoints act as visual cues that guide students through the transition process, making it smoother and more organized.
  • Create Visual Floor Markings for Spacing
    Within your classroom door, you can create visual floor markings by taping or painting shapes on the floor, ensuring that there’s appropriate spacing between them. These visual indicators help students develop a heightened sense of body awareness and personal space. As they line up while maintaining the correct distance from their peers, these floor markings provide a practical and tangible reference point for fostering considerate behavior during transitions.
  • Consider Walking Ropes for Younger Students
    For younger students, consider implementing walking ropes equipped with colorful handles. These tangible ropes not only add an element of excitement to transitions but also serve a practical purpose. They help younger students stay in line with their peers, promoting a sense of unity and cooperation as they navigate the school environment. Walking ropes make transitions safer and more enjoyable for these students.
  • Introduce Body Space and Body Awareness Activities
    To prepare students for lining up and walking in line considerately, introduce activities that enhance body space and body awareness. Activities like using a body sock during indoor recess or playing body soccer offer valuable opportunities for students to understand their own bodies and maintain appropriate personal space. These activities lay the foundation for respectful and considerate behavior during transitions.
  • Use Fidget Toys or Weighted “Hall Passes”
    Implementing “hall passes” in the form of fidget toys or weighted objects can help students keep their hands occupied during transitions. These tools serve a dual purpose—providing sensory input and reducing fidgeting tendencies. By offering students a constructive outlet for their energy, these hall passes contribute to smoother and more orderly transitions.
  • Keep a Key Ring with Movement Activities Handy
    Prepare a key ring with movement activities listed on index cards and hang it by the door for easy access during transitions. These activities, which can be engaged in while waiting, serve as effective distractions and engagement tools. They keep students focused and occupied during the transition process, minimizing disruptions and enhancing overall orderliness.
  • Incorporate Games Like “I Spy”
    As students move through the building during transitions, incorporate games like “I Spy” to keep their minds focused and their eyes engaged. By challenging students to spot specific objects or elements, you not only maintain their attention but also make transitions more interactive and enjoyable. “I Spy” adds an element of fun while ensuring that students stay on track during the transition period.

In my commitment to fostering a structured and respectful school environment, I am excited to provide a free social story designed to help elementary students learn the importance of walking in a line considerately. This downloadable resource offers an engaging narrative that empowers students to understand the significance of orderly transitions. By clicking the link, students and educators alike can access this valuable tool, reinforcing the positive behavior I aim to instill. The effective implementation of lining up routines, coupled with these practical tips and variations, plays a pivotal role in our school’s overall discipline, safety, and security. It creates an environment conducive to focused learning for both students and teachers. I believe that by equipping our students with the knowledge and skills to walk in line with consideration, I contribute to their growth as responsible members of our school community and society at large.