The First 30 Seconds: Elizabeth Maine

by | 10.19.15

Elizabeth Maine is a language and literacy specialist who leads the K-6 reading intervention program at Highline Public Schools in Seattle.

What does your First 30 Seconds—the routine you establish in those crucial, tone-setting first moments of class or the school day—look like? Why did you settle on this routine? What impact has the First 30 Seconds had on your students?

As our school’s language and literacy specialist, I spend about half my day teaching and half supporting teachers and school-wide language and literacy programming. I see six groups of students each day, ranging from kindergarten to 6th grade. For my reading groups’ First 30 Seconds entering procedure this year, I wanted something simple and quick, but also something that would signal to students that reading groups are a time to work hard, learn a lot and have fun.

I settled on a fist bump—every student I have, from kindergarten to 6th grade, knows that they can’t enter our reading area without giving me a fist bump first. I chose a fist bump because it seemed more serious than a high-five (some of my students have learned the hard way what happens when your bump is too enthusiastic!), and more fun than a handshake. It’s also a great nonverbal cue that allows my students to transition from hallway to reading group—once that fist bump is complete, we mean business!

One of the wonderful things I’ve noticed since starting my fist bump First 30 Seconds is that students have really started making it their own—I’ve had double fist bumps, exploding fists, Big Hero 6 impersonations and, perhaps my favorite, many, many enthusiastic hallway fist bumps. It’s the perfect mix of serious and fun, and a really good symbol for our reading group culture.

Find Elizabeth on Twitter @mrsmaine1.


About the Author


Elizabeth Maine
Elizabeth Maine

Elizabeth Maine is a language and literacy specialist who leads the K-6 reading intervention program at Highline Public Schools in Seattle. Find Elizabeth on Twitter @mrsmaine1.


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