Facebook
Edutopia on Facebook
Twitter
Edutopia on Twitter
Google+
Edutopia on Google+
Pinterest
Edutopia on Pinterest Follow Me on Pinterest
WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Attention Grabbers

Attention Grabbers

Related Tags: Classroom Management
More Related Discussions
73 Replies 27849 Views
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 (73 Replies)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Deborah Thiessen's picture

"The first day of School" by Harry Wong is a great book with tons of ideas on how to decide on the procedures to manage your class including to get the kids to be quiet. I don't want to waste more than a couple of seconds of times and want their attention. I use one of their cues, "Give me 5" and raise my hand. It usually takes a couple of seconds for all eyes, hands and mouths to be focused.

Rebecca Alber's picture
Rebecca Alber
Edutopia Consulting Online Editor
Blogger 2014

Some great suggestions here, especially grabbing a copy of The First Days of School by Harry Wong (you can buy it used on Amazon for under 20 dollars). That book saved me my first year!

You are right on to do what feels most comfortable for you. What works for one teacher, might not work for another. It sounds like you trying to find "your thing." It's okay -- you will! : )

If you are able, observe a few teachers this summer, or informally interview some colleagues via email from your school site on what works for them when it comes to getting the attention of students.

Good luck, and all the best,

Rebecca Alber
Edutopia

Carey Rebecca's picture
Carey Rebecca
Senior English and AP English

I am heading into my *cough* 10th year in the classroom for me, and I'm still searching for that attention grabber that works for me! In high school, especially with seniors, hand clapping and such feels a little immature, and I don't feel comfortable with it. After reading through the posts, I realized I think I have found it- I DO use timers, online timer is my fave. I put it on the board so all students, and myself, can see it. It is very effective, even when I am conducting trainings with colleagues. So I guess thats "my" thing! I have decided to be a little more vigilant with it this year, and see where it goes. Thanks for bringing this up, great chance for some reflection- and my best wishes to you as you begin your teaching career!

Rebecca Alber's picture
Rebecca Alber
Edutopia Consulting Online Editor
Blogger 2014

Great suggestion-- use of a timer! When I am conducing workshops with teachers, I do the same thing (use the online timer on LCD projector screen). It seems to create a sense of urgency and often a more enthusiastic, richer discussion.

Though you are entering your tenth year, it goes to show that as educators, we are always learners too, striving to improve our craft -- one of things I love most about this job!

And thanks to everyone for your contributions here so far. : )

Best,

Rebecca
Edutopia

Lydia Gonzalez's picture

I am going into my third year of teaching 7th grade math. I was also an alternative certified teacher, but had 4-5 years experience with adult eduation (GED). I've used Dr. Harry Wong's methods for classroom management, but have also attended various workshops/conferences where I picked up other strategies.

One in particular that I use and really enjoy doing is at the beginning of class (or when I need their attention), after I have completed roll and at which time the kids are finishing a warmup, I am trying to get their attention. As they continue their small-talk, I turn to my whiteboard and start "talking to it" as if it was a real person. After a few seconds, the students notice and giggle about it a bit and then they question me as to "why are you talking to the bosrd?" Then I explain that it appeared to be the only thing listening to me...it actually gets a little laugh for the kids (who think I've lost it!), but gets the room quiet so that I can begin the lesson. This lets them know I am human and can do quirky things.

Mary Kate Land's picture
Mary Kate Land
Montessori 4-6th grade teacher
Blogger 2014

Thanks for sharing all your great ideas. We have a standardized approach at our school. We start teaching it to the children in the toddler classes. The person who needs the group's attention (sometimes it's a student) sounds a tone and then waits. As each person notices, they put down anything they are holding and turn toward the speaker. The speaker finishes every message with "thank you" and then the group goes back to work.

I find that if I wait, those who haven't noticed will get clued in by those who have. It's much more effective when students tell one another, than if I were to tell them.

Mary Kate

Rebecca Alber's picture
Rebecca Alber
Edutopia Consulting Online Editor
Blogger 2014

Mary brings up such a great point here: "It's much more effective when students tell one another, than if I were to tell them."

On giving students a say in the classroom, community members, please check out this inventive idea from Edutopia blogger Nicholas Provenzano, Creating Classroom Rules with a Bill of Student Rights.

What might be some ways you give students voice and choice in your classroom? Please share!

Thanks,

Rebecca
Edutopia

Mary Kate Land's picture
Mary Kate Land
Montessori 4-6th grade teacher
Blogger 2014

We have always used collaborative decision making to create classroom rules, but this year (for the first time) we made it part of a role-playing experience whose goal was understanding the debate that takes place in legislative government. The students loved it, and requested that all further meetings be conducted in this style. I noticed, however, that the students were much less respectful in their communication when they were pretending to be congressmembers than they are when they usually work together to solve problems. I have to agree with the assessment, though, that it was totally fun!

Mary Kate

Sember Mathews's picture

I have tried a number of things and find that when I am bored I pick new ones. Teach the kids any phrase, word or sounds that is comfortable to you. Reinforce those who react quickly.
Right now I use a little rhyme: 5,4,3...eyes on me (the kids who hear me clap once) 2, 1 the talking is done (kids all clap again) My expectation is that all students are frozen by the second clap no matter where the are in the room. Be clear with what you expect! The clap is usually loud enough that even kids at the computer with headphones will here it.

Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Director of Social Media Strategy and Marketing @Edutopia, edcamp organizer
Staff

Hi Serena -

I went ahead and asked your question to our audience of over 45,000 educators on Facebook.

You can check out what they had to say here.

Hope this helps!
Elana

Sign in and Join the Discussion! Not a member? Register to join the discussion.