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.

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Transitional Songs, Part Two

Dot

(Note: This is our second blog post on transitional songs. Our first blog post, entitled “Transitional Songs Part One,” was posted on September 23, 2013. Please scroll down this page to our earlier blog posts to find it, or simply click here. Thanks!)

In any children’s class, many activities are needed to keep students happy and motivated throughout the lesson. Transitional songs are a perfect way to signal to children that one activity is ending and another is beginning. A good transitional song also has other benefits:

  1. It supports the natural rhythm and intonation of the phrase or sentence you are using.
  2. The melody is quickly learned and recognized by students, so they move into action as soon as they hear it.
  3. In most cases, children can be encouraged to sing along, building group cohesion as well as productive language skills.
  4. Transitional songs soon become part of a classroom routine, giving students a sense of structure and making them feel secure during the lesson.

Today, for Part Two, we present a variety of transitional songs that help to make activities smooth and enjoyable for students.

1. Open Your Books

This song is a great way to motivate students to open their student books to the correct page.

Open Your Books  (copyright © 2012 by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina)

Open your books. Please open your books. (gesture)

(Spoken) Turn to page _________.

(Write this page number on the board, or show the number with your fingers. Hold the book open to show the page to students, then check to be sure all students are ready.) 

Open your books.

 2. Let’s Make a Line

This transitional song quickly motivates children to form a line in the classroom, either for an activity or when they are preparing to leave the classroom.

Let’s Make a Line  (copyright © 2012 by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina)

(melody:  Skip To My Lou)

Let’s make a line long and straight,

Let’s make a line long and straight,

Let’s make a line long and straight,

Let’s make a line long and straight.

 3. Find a Friend

This is a great chant to use when students need to find a partner. Demonstrate this chant with one student first. Decide how students will show that they are partners. They can stand back-to-back, touch palms, sit facing each other knee-to-knee, etc.

Practice finding partners before you actually do your activity.

Find a Friend  (copyright © 2012 by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina)

Find a friend, find a friend,

before I can count to ten.

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9—— 10!    Hooray!

 4. Goodbye Children

This is a fun way to say goodbye to your students at the end of the lesson!

Goodbye (copyright © 2012 by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina)

(melody: Good Night Ladies)

Good-bye children!  Good-bye children!

Good-bye children!  It’s time for you to go.

Clap your hands and walk along, walk along, walk along,

Clap your hands and walk along, I’ll see you very soon.

Good-bye children!  Good-bye children!

Good-bye children!  It’s time for you to go.

5. We Did It!

We Did It! (copyright © 2012 by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina)

We did it!  We did it!  We did it today!

We did it!  We did it!  Hip hip hooray!

We did it!  We did it!  We did it today!

We did it!  We did it!  Hip hip hooray!

 (Note: The following transitional songs can be found on our blog post entitled “Transitional Songs, Part One.” Please scroll down to our earlier blog posts to find these songs and the recordings for them, or simply click here.)
Let’s Make a Circle
Come and Sit In Front of Me
Cards Please

(All songs and chants in this blog are copyright © 2012 by Kathleen Kampa)

Happy teaching, everyone!!

Kathy and Chuck

25

How Can You Build English Throughout a Lesson? Use Transitional Songs, Part One

DotIn any children’s class, many activities are needed to keep students happy and motivated throughout the lesson.  Transitional songs are a perfect way to signal to children that one activity is ending and another is beginning.  A good transitional song also has other benefits:

  1. It supports the natural rhythm and intonation of the phrase or sentence you are using.
  2. The melody is quickly learned and recognized by students, so they move into action as soon as they hear it.
  3. In most cases, children can be encouraged to sing along, building group cohesion as well as productive language skills.
  4. Transitional songs soon become part of a classroom routine, giving students a sense of structure and making them feel secure during the lesson.

Today, for Part One, we present three transitional songs that help to make activities smooth and enjoyable for students. The lyrics for each of the transitional songs are included below with a simple recording.  A professional recording is now available on “Jump Jump Everyone.”

1.  Let’s Make a Circle

Many language activities work well with students seated (or standing) in a circle.  This transitional song quickly motivates children into forming a circle in the classroom.

Let’s Make a Circle  (copyright © 2012 by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina)

(melody:  Skip to My Lou)

Let’s make a circle big and round.

Let’s make a circle big and round.

Let’s make a circle big and round.

Everybody please sit down. (or Let’s make a circle big and round to remain standing)

2.  Come and Sit in Front of Me

This transitional song works well when you want students to sit as a group in front of you, perhaps for a storytelling session.

Come and Sit in Front of Me  (copyright © 2012 by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina)

(melody:  Muffin Man)

Come and sit in front of me,

In front of me, in front of me,

Come and sit in front of me,

In front of me.

3.  Cards, Please!

Many activities involve the use of picture cards for language support. After the activity is over, this transitional song gets the picture cards back to you quickly and efficiently.

The song is sung as a dialogue between the teacher and students.  The word cards can also be changed to any other item that needs to be collected (papers, crayons, etc.)

Cards, Please!  (copyright © 2012 by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina)

(melody:  Skip to My Lou)

T: Cards please.   Ss: Here you are.

T: Cards please.   Ss: Here you are.

T: Cards please.   Ss: Here you are.

All: Thank you very much!

You can sing these transitional songs in your classroom.  The songs are also professionally recorded here on “Jump Jump Everyone.”  Check out the link on iTunes .

Mimi CD cover 2015-10-12 at 1.04.43 AM

This album has lots of movement songs which are important for young learners growth and development.  Contact Englishbooks.jp or me (magictimekids@gmail.com) to order CDs.