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Marshmallow Toes: The Secret to a Quiet Line


I’ve taught for 11 years (11!) and I’ve been blogging for eight of them and this is seriously the first time I’m sharing this secret. Honestly, how can that be? I love sharing all the insider secrets to being the best teacher you can be. Anyway… today, I’m sharing the secret to having a quiet line. No really… this really is the best-kept secret for having a quiet line that walks nicely in the hallways. It is seriously so simple, so easy… I’m so surprised I haven’t shared it before. Well, that secret is… Marshmallow Toes!

When you think of school supplies you need for the first week of school, I’m sure that marshmallows aren’t the first on your mind, but I’m telling you, they need to be! Right up there with hand sanitizer, wipes, and face masks!

marshmallow toes

See marshmallows set the perfect example for how we want our students to walk in the hallways. Like they are marshmallows on their feet. Quiet, respectful, fluffy!

Let’s jump into how to actually teach this line walking procedure!

Marshmallow Toes on the First Day of School

I love introducing this concept on the first day of school right before we head out of the classroom for the first time.

To introduce the procedure of marshmallow toes, we do a little exploration activity that takes about 10-15 minutes!  (if that!)

Marshmallow Toes Exploration Activity

quiet line activity

So first, I pass out marshmallows to each student. I tell them to not eat the marshmallow, just observe it (yes-we discuss this word observe!)

Once every student has a marshmallow and a Marshmallow Toes recording sheet (which you can grab for free here!) we’re ready to explore.

Marshmallow Exploration

First, we touch and squish the marshmallow. As we do, I have students share some words that would describe the how the marshmallow feels. I record those words on the board. Then, we answer the question on the recording sheet (using complete sentences of course!)

Next, we smell the marshmallow. This is always a favorite part! Once again, I record any words students share on the board and we work to write a complete sentence.

Finally, we drop our marshmallow on the floor. We discuss how quiet the marshmallow was when it hit the floor. Then we complete the last observation.

Marshmallow Toes Poem

marshmallow toes poster

After we make our observations, I introduce the Marshmallow Toes Poem. We discuss how when we walk in the hallway we need to be quiet and respectful and have quiet feet, like if marshmallows are stuck to our feet.

We practice the poem a few times together. Then, students work to complete the activity sheet by adding in the missing words to the poem. While students are working, I usually go around and have students throw away their exploration marshmallows.

marshmallow toes worksheet

Once they are done with their poem, I’ll let them have a marshmallow as a special treat before we line up.

As they enjoy their special treats, we discuss why it’s so important to have quiet feet in the hallways as we walk around.

We discuss how it’s a way to respect the learning that is happening in the classrooms. I like to bring up how one person stomping isn’t so bad, but then add a group of 20 second graders stomping and it can get really disruptive.

Teacher Tip! This is such an important step in building a classroom community that values learning! Most students understand that being disruptive can hinder learning. This also shows that learning is valued at school and we should work to keep the learning happening in and outside of our classrooms.

Time for a Quiet Line!

By now, it time to start lining up to leave the classroom as a class for the first time. Remember: Give yourself time for lining up properly the first few weeks of school. This will give you time to line up the students quietly, be ready to walk, walk to your destination, and give lots of praise. I normally give myself about 7-10 minutes of time early in the year (depending on how far you are walking)

I hang up the Marshmallow poem poster right by the door as a reminder.

Then, I call students one at a time to line up and show me their “marshmallow toes”. We also discuss how to walk in line (hands at our sides or in a ducktail) and with a “bubble” in our mouths (cheeks puffed out- this is not required, but it’s a good physical reminder for students who struggle with making noises because they don’t want the bubble to escape).

As students walk, don’t forget to slather on the verbal praise!) We also discuss what to do if you need to get out of line for some reason (ie: tie your shoe)

Right before we walk out the door, I have the students repeat the Marshmallow Poem and we head out.

As we walk, I usually make a point (especially in the beginning) to point out students who are demonstrating proper line walking procedures. You’d be surprised at how far verbal praise can go!

Quiet Line Reminders

For the rest of the first week, we repeat the poem and review line walking procedures each time before we leave the classroom.

I also give tons of praise to students who are showing their respect in the hallways as we walk.

Marshmallow Toes Free Download

So are you ready to try this simple activity in your classroom? Be sure to download the free resource in my TeachersPayTeachers store.

While you’re there, be sure to follow my store so you can be alerted to new products, sales, and deals!

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Hi, I'm Leigh.

The Applicious Teacher is all about creating hands-on and engaging lessons that align with the standards while still having time for your life. This is your place for ideas, tips, and resources for the REAL teacher!


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