Whether you're a first-year teacher or a seasoned pro, effective classroom management is a critical piece of any successful classroom. Share what works.

Attention Grabbers

Serena Murillo Elementary teacher in New Mexico

I am student teaching, and finding it hard to find what works for me when getting the attention of the class when they are doing activities such as group work. The teacher I am working with does a clap pattern thing, which the kids have to repeat, and it works great for him! However, I feel very unnatural doing it so I wanted to try other things. I have tried turning off the lights and all eyes on me, but I am not sure I love that idea either.
Any suggestions would be appreciated! I hate just trying to yell over the kids. I am in a third grade classroom.

Serena

Update: Since this post was originally published, many of the tips submitted by commenters were collected together into a presentation. Click here to access the presentation: http://www.edutopia.org/groups/classroom-management/737576

Comments (72)

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Second grade teacher from Baltimore, Maryland

At the beginning of the

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At the beginning of the school year we discuss the different rules and signals we use to keep the community safe. Two things work very well at my school. The children freeze right away when I show the peace sign or turn the lights out. I also find it helpful to set goals when they do group work and ask them to share at internals. This helps them to keep focused and work at a good pace.
Examples
You should have atleast 3 sentences by 10:15.
Group 1, could you please share what you have so far?
Steven

Kindergarten Teacher from College Park, Georgia

Attention Grabbers!

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I teach kindergarten, and for my students I find that singing a part of a song that they are familiar with is a great way to get there attention. I start by singing part of the song and I stop to let the rest of the class finish the remaining part of the song.
Another great strategy would be to have your students pretend like they are in a marching band (when I had second grade I tried this one!). To get everyone in the band to pay attention, you would blow a whistle very quickly for two short times. Because I did not want to blow a loud whistle, I would say, "Deet, Deet!" The students would stop what they were doing and stand at attention (like in the army). I would say it again, followed by a long "Deeeeeet". I would follow up by saying, "Snap! Attention!" The students would respond by saying the school name. Both of these are fun and engaging attention grabbers.

I am a first grade teacher from Miami, Florida.

I love to laugh and love to

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I love to laugh and love to make my "little ones" laugh as well. So to get their attention i clap twice loud and then say "Knock-knock" after which they wil reply with "Who's there?". Then I proceed to tell them a knock-knock joke that also has the next activity we will do included in it. I use it from time to time and it works but the simple "If you can hear me clap once..." works just as fine as well!

High School EBD Teacher

Point System

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I teach in an alternative school and we use the point system. It works really well in my EBD classes. If students don't lose more than 7 points in a day, they are allowed to have break at the end of the day. Otherwise, they have to sit in the level 1 room (without talking) until their bus or ride is called. Regardless of what plan you choose, consistency is the key.

middle school social studies SC

buy one of those disco ball

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buy one of those disco ball lamps and when kids see the lights going around the room they have 1 minute to finish up and be ready for next activity

play a song - when it starts kids know to wrap up - by time it's done all eyes on you - also cool if it's the same song everytime

7-12, English, ESL teacher, Texas

Suggested Texts & Request for Training options

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Go to http://www.safeandcivilschools.com/ Randy S_rick, PhD. (letter "p" taken out of the author's last name to avoid objectionable language monitor that prevented the message to be sent)
Suggestions:
1) Built on the positive, proven approach to student behavior advocated in CHAMPS, Stepping In: A Substitute's Guide to Managing Classroom Behavior shows substitute teachers how to prevent most misbehavior from occurring and to more effectively handle those problems that do arise.
ISBN: 978-1-59909-032-0
Publication Date: 2009
Details: 84 pp. (14 pp. reproducible forms)

2) CHAMPS, a proactive and Positive Approach to Classroom Management
strategies and techniques that apply to younger students. K-8
Edition: Second,ISBN: 978-1-59909-030-6, Publication Date: 2009
Details: 520 pp. and 1 CD (502 pp. fillable reproducible forms and classroom icons

3) Discipline in the Secondary Classroom
specifically written for the high school classroom.
ISBN: 978-0-470-42226-7,Publication Date: 2006
Details: 286 pp. and 1 DVD (38 pp. fillable reproducible forms and three video clips)

Suggestion 4: Go to http://teachlikeachampion.wiley.com/ Doug Lemov
Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College
Doug Lemov
ISBN: 978-0-470-55047-2, Publication Date: April 2010, Jossey-Bass
Details: Paperback, 352 pages

1st Grade Teacher

Hi, I use a technique that

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Hi,
I use a technique that comes from Whole Brain Teaching. I say "class" in different ways and different voices and students respond saying yes in the same way I said class. Research states that students will be more likely to follow your direction because they have already said yes. I did not have any students that refused to say yes when I said class and they do not seem to get tired of it! Hope this helps,

1st Grade Teacher

Hi, I use a technique that

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Hi,
I use a technique that comes from Whole Brain Teaching. I say "class" in different ways and different voices and students respond saying yes in the same way I said class. Research states that students will be more likely to follow your direction because they have already said yes. I did not have any students that refused to say yes when I said class and they do not seem to get tired of it! Hope this helps,

1st Grade Teacher

Hi, I use a technique that

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0

Hi,
I use a technique that comes from Whole Brain Teaching. I say "class" in different ways and different voices and students respond saying yes in the same way I said class. Research states that students will be more likely to follow your direction because they have already said yes. I did not have any students that refused to say yes when I said class and they do not seem to get tired of it! Hope this helps,

Mi nombre es Daniel Taylor-Hola-My name is Dain Taylor-hello

I have seen the counting to

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I have seen the counting to ten method using fingers silently. I have seen the repeating the repeating "sh" game utilized in some classrooms. I would try to assign a student a job of holding up a a sign, which says "level one", meaning for one to be quiet; however, this invovles a lot of prepping.
Level 1 zone-talking
Level 2 zone-whisper
Level 3 zone-normal talking voice
Level 4 zone-recess voice

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