Sunday, September 7, 2014

Attention Signals

One of the first things we teach children on the first day of school is a signal to get their attention - commonly and simply referred to as an "attention signal." This lets the children know that we need their undivided attention for whatever we have planned next. Of course, this needs to be taught explicitly and practiced a million times before it is mastered. But once we teach this successfully, the rest of the year will be smooth!

Below is a collection of attention signals that I have used over the years, mainly in a first grade classroom, but can be used and adapted in other grades as well. You don't want to teach all of the attention signals at once. Start with one, and every week, teach a new one and build it up.  Novelty catches children's attention like no other.

It is assumed that after you say your phrase, children say their line and show ready to listen.

1) Teacher: Class
Students: Yes
*Variations: You can also say "class class" and they will respond in a similar fashion "yes yes." Or you can say "classity class" and they say "yessity yes!"

2) Teacher: Hands, hands, hands and eyes
Students: Hands, hands, hands and eyes

3) Teacher: S, T
Students: O, P

4) Teacher: One, two, three, eyes on me
Students: One, two, three, eyes on you
*Variations: You can change the numbers in the front - for example, you can say "Two, four, six, eyes on me" or "Two, oh, three, eyes on me" (203 is my room number).

5) Clap a rhythm and students clap the same rhythm.

6) Teacher: Stop, look, and listen
Students: Ok!

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