Just a Word (or Two)

At our Jr. High Fun Night last Friday, I was coaching some parents on using one-word reminders.  “You need to write me a script,” requested one mom.

I use these reminders because they are less likely to make the hearer defensive, and because they aren’t direct orders.  They also don’t sound like nagging, nor do they have an “or else” message.

Here’s  a sample list of words and how I use them:

“Language” – Whenever I hear something inappropriate (including the popular phrase “That sucks”)

“Manners” – When “please” and “thank you” have been forgotten (e.g., “I need a new paper”)

“Walk” – Much gentler than “Don’t run!”

“Homework” – When someone is talking instead of working (usually accompanied by pointing at their paper)

“Volume” – When voices get too loud

“Hostile” – When they are being unkind

(Often I will tag on another word to make it a polite request, as in “Walk, please.”)

I get a kick out of hearing the students use the same phrases with each other – and with great success!  Spend just half a day in my classroom, and you’ll hear all of these at least once.



  1. Thank you! Especially the “language ” word. I do say to much sometimes. But also can say that i do practice this also. But the “language ” is a good one for me because i will say” watch your.mouth” or “dont say that ” or “u r not allowed to say that”. Thanks. I’m going to work on this.

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