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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

25 Attention-Grabbing Tips for the Classroom

25 Attention-Grabbing Tips for the Classroom

Related Tags: Classroom Management
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Whether you're a new or experienced teacher, strategies for getting student attention are an important part of your classroom-management toolkit. In this presentation you’ll find 25 tips for quieting a noisy class. You can view the presentation here:

25 Attention-Grabbing Tips for the Classroom

These attention getters were contributed by educators from Edutopia’s community in response to a plea for help from a student teacher. You can find the original discussion here:


One important point highlighted in the discussion and the guide is that what works for one teacher, might not work for another. It's important to find your own voice and discover what works for you.

Be playful. Experiment. And then come back and share what you've learned. Let's keep the learning process going.

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Kevin Jarrett's picture
Kevin Jarrett
K-4 Technology Facilitator from Northfield, New Jersey

There are some good ideas in there! Thanks for sharing! Here are a couple of my favorites...

I teach in a K-4 STEM classroom with 25 Chromebooks. When I need everyone's attention at the end of class to start our exit procedures, I'll say "HANDS UP! Reach for the sky..." (in my best impression of Woody from Toy Story.) Not only does it work well, the kids get the humor and smile, too.

During transitions at the start and end of class, kids are naturally noisy as they move around the room. To quiet them down, I just say, in a voice slightly louder than usual: "Raise your hand if you're talking." 95% of the time, the room falls silent immediately. It's hilarious, actually. The kids all look around at each other with an "ooops" expression on their faces. Priceless.

Another recent favorite is "Sit safe." Kids are forever rocking back, sitting on their feet, slouching, etc., and a quick "Sit safe!" gets their attention and focuses them on correcting their behavior.

These work for me - hope they help someone else!


Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Community Manager at Edutopia

We had a great example of an attention grabber come up in a Facebook conversation.

From Vanilla Ice:
I use a Mario themed alarm on my phone. I use it mostly during silent reading, and it's awesome to see students stop reading and move to their desks without me saying a word. Visitors to my classroom sometimes wonder what that noise is, but the kids know!

I also have my students use their phones to set timers and keep themselves on track. I may say they need to accomplish 3 things in the next hour, and it's then their job to decide how much time to dedicate to it and prioritize what should be done first.


SissyFritz's picture

I love all of the ideas that were presented and have tried several in my classroom.

I start singing or use a cowbell.

Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Community Manager at Edutopia

SissyFritz, you bring up a great point. Every classroom needs more cowbell: http://vimeo.com/51038971


Haha, okay, on more a serious note, it's great that you're trying these strategies out. How are they working for you?

Andrea Doty's picture
Andrea Doty
Fourth grade teacher for English learning students in China.

I am a big fan of BYOD to the classroom! Bring your own device! does anyone have any ideas, if a child does not have an iphone, smart phone or cell phone. How can we as teachers, integrate ICT, communication technology, with the students?

We are in the "digital age" and we need to encourage them to use these digital tools to their advantage for learning capabilities. I love the alarm idea for group reading, and using different alarm sounds, I will be using this in my classroom. Thank you for the suggestion.

Andrea Doty

"For a brighter future"

Brian Sztabnik's picture
Brian Sztabnik
AP Literature teacher from Miller Place, NY

My district does not yet have a BYOD policy (hopefully soon!), so I haven't encountered this problem personally. However, could you collect old devices (iPods, etc) that could connect with wifi and keep them somewhere in your classroom? That way, if a student doesn't have access to a device, or just forgot one that day, they could just use the wifi to stay up with the lesson.

Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal

Hi Andrea! I think there are a couple of ways to go- one being Brian's suggestion that you collect old and discarded devices (you might be able to work out some kind of a drive via the PTA/PTO or through a local wireless provider). I'd also suggest you think about ways that the district or school could reallocate some funds to provide devices to those who don't have them- there's federal money coming for technology purchases and many states have initiatives as well. You might also think about ways that kids can work together to share devices, intentionally assigning roles that require use of devices to the kids who *don't* have them at home.

I guess my final caveat would be to think carefully about the learning goals and the work to be done, and then to think about ways that kids could meet those goals without tech. A device isn't always the best or only way to solve a problem.

Patricia's picture

Good tips. I am going to engage my students to come up with a secret code that reminds them how to behave.

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