Simple Strategies For Getting Attention

How do you get all of your students’ attention?  As we move to student-centered learning, your students may be more engaged in small group work. Throughout your lessons, however, you may need to get their attention again.  How do you do it?

First of all, with any strategy you use, you must practice it before you actually use it.  My students love to do this!  It’s easy to see how they continue to improve.

Secondly, the success of each strategy depends on you, your group of students, their age, and their disposition. Figure out what works best. In a couple months, change it up with a new strategy.

 1. Get attention with something that creates an interesting sound.

screen-shot-2017-03-06-at-9-29-03-pmWhat do you have readily available in your classroom?  One of the most interesting sounds I have in my classroom is a slide whistle.  If you have a big group of students, it quickly gets their attention.  Don’t have a slide whistle?  How about a tambourine or a kazoo?

(Check out West Music for interesting instruments.)

2.  Add a little rhythm to get attention.

Rhythm Clap (copyright © 2012 by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina)

(Clap on every syllable. Students echo your clap.)

I   like    ba-na-nas.      (I   like    ba-na-nas.)

I   like   po-ta-toes.        (I   like   po-ta-toes.)

I   like   to-ma-toes.     (I   like   to-ma-toes.)

3.   How about trying some rhyming conversations?  These help your students develop phonemic awareness too!

My Grade One students love “Hands on Top.”Smiling boy posing in front of a wall

Teacher says,  Hands on top! (put your hands on top of your head)

Students answer, That means “Stop!” (students do the same)

One, Two, Three, Eyes on Me is another rhyming conversation.

The teacher sings, “One, two, three, eyes on me.”  (so-so, mi, so-so, mi)

Hold up fingers as if you’re counting to three.  Point to yourself.

The students answer, “One, two, eyes on you!”(so, mi, so-so, mi)

Hold up fingers as if you’re counting to two.  Students point to the teacher.

My students then do “Peace and Quiet” by putting two fingers in the air (peace) and one finger to their lips (quiet).

 4.  Butterflies 

I lovimages-1e to pretend with my students.  Ask, “Where are your butterfly wings?  What color are your wings today?”  Pretend to paint each arm by gently rubbing it and naming a color.                                                        i.e  This wing is pink, but this one is purple.

Raise and lower your arms out to your sides as if you are flying. Inhale and exhale.

5. Candles

Finally, inhale while raising your arms from your sides to above your head. Touch your hands together above your head, then bring them down in front of you.  Exhale when your hands are in front of your mouth.  This is an effective way to calm students after a lively activity.

Having some strategies in place will help your classes run smoothly.