Once again, a simple piece of practical classroom advice taken from the essential Teach Like Champion, this strategy is called "seat signals".
The rationale is this: a student asking to go to the bathroom, or to get out of their seat for any reason can be very disruptive. A student arguing with a teacher who answers "no" to their request to leave can also be highly disruptive. Thus, the solution is fairly simple: a set of hand signals that signify common requests.
The criteria for said signals must be
- done from their seats
- do not require verbal answers
- posted on the wall
Some common ones include:
- hand up, two fingers crossed (Can I use the bathroom?)
- hold pencil up (I need a new pencil)
- left hand pinching nose (I need a tissue)
- One finger held up in circular motion (I need to get out of my seat for whatever)
- frisbee/fishing motions (Would you like to play frisbee and/or go fishing with me?)
Remember that when these things are not done out loud, you not only avoid derailing the momentum of your lesson, but you can also use every minute of your teaching time. Try it out and see what you can learn.