Monday, January 6, 2014

25 ways

25 Ways to Obtain Children's Attention in a School Setting

By Leah Davies, M.Ed.

There are countless times when educators need their students' undivided attention. The following methods are best taught during the first weeks of school. These ideas can assist teachers in providing an ordered and safe learning environment for everyone.

1. Hold up your hand and say, "Give Me Five." The children put their hands in the air and shout "five!" As they count down to one, they get progressively quieter until "one" is said in a whisper. Or, after saying, "Give me five," everyone puts their hand in the air and counts loudly using their fingers from 1 to 5.

2. Teach the children that the five fingers on their right hand stand for the five things they must do when you hold up your hand. Say, "Give me five," and wait until all the children hold up their hand. Then lead them in saying the five things together.
    (1) Eyes -- look
    (2) Ears -- listen
    (3) Mouth -- closed
    (4) Hands -- still
    (5) Feet -- quiet
Later when you say, "Give me five," the children are to think of these five things and hold up their hand to show they are ready to listen.

3. Clap or tap in a pattern, for example, clap slowly twice and then clap fast three times. The students are to stop what they are doing and repeat the pattern. If necessary, do it again until all children have responded and are quiet. You may want to vary the pattern.

4. Shake a shaker, touch a wind chime, ring a bell, play quiet music or use any kind of sound maker as a signal for students to be attentive.

5. Raise you hand and stand still until the students are quiet. Or, raise your right hand and put the index finger of your left hand on your lips. The children are to do the same. Another idea is to hold up three fingers which is a silent signal for "Stop, look, listen." Then wait until all the children have their three fingers up and are quiet.

6. Say, in a normal tone of voice, "Clap once if you can hear me." Those listening will quiet down and clap one time. Then say, "Clap twice if you can hear me." More children respond with two claps. Finally say, "Clap three times if you can hear me." By this time you should have the attention of your students.

7. When you say, "Voices," teach the children to respond with a quiet, "Shhh..." Use it if the children are too loud. If you want their attention, say, "Voices" again and they respond with a quieter, "Shhh..." Say it a third time very quietly, "Voices." All students should be quiet and ready to listen.

8. Tell your students that they will be playing, "The Still Waters Game" often, and that they will know the game has begun when you say, "1, 2, 3, 3, 2, 1 still waters has begun." Ask them to freeze like an ice cube and remain silent when they hear that sentence. Time the children to see how long they can remain still. The goal is to beat their best time. Hold your fist in the air and each time you see someone move or talk, put a finger up. Once you have all five fingers up, check your watch and tell the class how long they were able to remain still.

9. Practice having the children stop, look at the teacher and listen when the lights are flicked off and on.

10. Teach the difference between being silly and serious. Tell them that there is room for both of these behaviors. Then practice by saying, "Act silly!" Let them be silly. Then say, "Now, act serious." Model this often at the beginning of the year so when you say, "I need to have serious behavior," they respond accordingly and are attentive.

11. Use a count down or count up system. Say, "You have until five to be ready for....... 1, 2, 3, 4, 5." Start a count down at whatever number you think the students need to be ready. For example, start with 5, 10 or 15 depending on the activity to be put away.

12. Say, "Boys and Girls…" and then write numbers as a countdown on the board from 5-4-3-2-1. The idea is that there is a consequence if you reach one before receiving everyone's attention. For example, a child talking may have to move or lose some free time, or use some other outcome for the whole class. Another idea is to hold up your hand and count silently to five on your fingers as you look at a watch. Teach the students if they do not become quiet by the count of five, their recess time will be cut by the amount of time it takes them to become quiet.

13. Use an old fashioned desk bell that you can tap. One tap means the class is getting too loud. Two taps mean that they need to stop what they are doing and listen.

14. Use a target word for a day or week. Have the students pick one that is related to what they are studying. For example, pioneer, Ohio, or fossils. When you say the word, the children stop, look and wait for directions. Or, the children could respond with a definition or short response to the target word; for example, if you said, "Ohio," the students would respond, "The buckeye state." Other call backs could include "spaghetti" -- "meatballs," or "Abraham" -- "Lincoln." Let the students suggest new words to be used.

15. Use a piece of poster board to make a noise level monitor. On the left side label it 1, 2, 3, and on the right side, list the type of noise acceptable for each. For example:
    1 - No talking
    2 - Whispering
    3 - Normal talking

    Use a large clip to indicate the acceptable noise level at any given time.
16. Say "1, 2, 3, eyes on me" and the children say back, "1, 2, 3, eyes on you," with their faces turned toward you and looking at your eyes. Or, say "1, 2, 3, Look at me" in a sing song voice. Another teacher-child response idea is for the teacher to say, "Hey, oh," and the children reply "Oh, hey." Or, the teacher says, "Freeze, please." And after giving instructions, the children say, "Melt."

17. Use, "Teacher Says," like "Simon Says." For example, "Teacher says, touch your nose," "Clap once," or "Teacher says, look at me."

18. Say in a robotic voice, "Miss Moore to Class - Come in class" and smile! This method can be used with individual students as well. Or, use a special phrase when something is really important; for example, say, "Mrs. Brown's class..." instead of saying, "Boys and girls."

19. Buy a large rain stick at a science store. When you turn it over, it sounds like rain falling. When the children hear the sound, they are to stop what they are doing and listen.

20. For an assembly of the student body shout the school name and have the children respond with the name of the school mascot, i.e. the administrator shouts, "Memorial" and the children respond with, "Bulldog!" After they shout the mascot name they are to be silent.

21. Let your voice get quieter and quieter as a signal for the children to be quiet. Talk softer or not at all until they are still. Or say softly, "Tootsie Roll, Lollipop, we`ve been talking, now let's stop."
22.Teach young children the following chant:
  • Teacher says; "1, 2."   Children say: "Eyes on you."
  • Teacher: "3, 4."   Children: "Crisscross on the floor."
  • Teacher: "5, 6."   Children: "No more tricks."
  • Teacher: "7, 8."   Children: "Sit up straight."
  • Teacher, "9, 10."   Children, "Let's begin!"
23. Sing the following words to the Frere Jacques tune: "Are you listening? Are you listening? Everyone! Everyone! If you are listening, if you are listening, look at me, look at me." Other ways to end the song are: "Snap your fingers" or "Pat your head."

24. Sit in your chair and start singing one song after another with no pauses. The children all join in the singing and come to group time. You can do the same thing with poetry. Start reciting poems that the children know and they will repeat them with you as they join the group.

25. Use motions like circling your hands quickly, then slow down and clap. You can also do the motions to a song like the "Itsy, Bitsy Spider.' When all of the children are copying the gestures silently, sing the song through.

Note: A special thank you to all of the educators on teacher chatboards who contributed their "attention getting ideas" for use in this article.


Twenty seven advices

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Trick or treat??

Here is the craft we made for Halloween! They played with the paintbrush and we hung it on the window.

The pupils made these lovely handcrafts to decorate the classroom!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Do you want to be a pirate?

There are different parts of the costume, so it will let you develop this activity in different days and keep the children expecting until you finally finish it. I did it with 4 years old children and all off them enjoyed it!

Here are some of the main ones and the materials you can use:

Pirate patch:
  • Sheet of black card

  • Ruber band

  • Glue or staples

You can also try some patch with different shapes and colors to make it more original.

Pirate flag:

  • Plastic tube

  • Black rubbish bag

  • Skull draw

  • Schotch tape (it will stick the skull to the bag better than the glue)

Pirate hat:

  • Newspaper (the hat will be bigger and more attractive)

  • Paints to decorate the hat

If you don´t remmember how to make a hat with a piece of paper here are the steps:

These are only some simple examples, you can use your imagination and design your own ones!

Have fun!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Acting with your pupils!

I worked in an English Summer Camp with Spanish children. One of the activities we had to do was preparing a theatre to perform it later.

They were 8 years old and we did something like "Finding Nemo". We tried every child to have the same importance so it couldn't be any main character. Here is the play.You can find a simple play that you could adapt to the number of characters you need or the level your pupils have. At the end we choose the song "If you are happy" to have a good time all together!

To dress up we made some masks and wear some clothes that outfit to the colors of it. The masks were made with newspaper, glue (the white one to become the paper harder) and some paint. They really enjoyed creating them! These are some:

Jellyfish and Octopus:

Some starfishes:

Sailor hat and Nemo:

Maybe you could try performing it to other students at the school!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Practicing with games!

Once again here we have a demostration of how useful the games can be in a TEFL clasroom to learn while pupils play!

This time the pupils are adults and the practice some vocabulary about the different rooms and objects in the house through these three games:

- In the first one we need some teams. In the blackboard there are the names of the rooms, the teacher will say an object and every time a person of each group have to run and point the right answer! The fastests win!

- The next game is about explaining things. The teacher whispers a word to a player and he or she has to explain it to his/her partner. If the partner gets wrong then the turn passes to the other group. We have limited time to think and explain the words. Sometimes you'll need to sharpen your wit!

- The last one is simple. The teacher says the name of a room and each one will mention any object that you could find there making a list among all of us. If you repeat a word or can't think a word you sit down.

Use your imagination and have fun!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Singing and playing!

Here we have the famous song "Ten green bottles". I remember singing it at school when I was a child, just that, to sing. Here we have a funny performance where the boys and girls previously drew some green bottles!

And here is a good way of practicing written vocabulary with the "Caterpillar crawl"!

Enjoy them!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Playing in the web!

I have found some webs too! These ones are for the children.

It is a site to help young children and older. We can see that there are different categories and sections, it makes searching easier. It's a very funny web!

This web for children of primary school. You can find many activities of different subjects and enjoy tremendously. Enter to see it and tell us what are your favorite ones!

I hope you like them!

Let's cook!

I've found something... Recipes to cook with kids!

Depending on children's age you will decide what they are going to do. Maybe only helping you or doing the whole thing by theirselves (you'll have to supervise it)!

If you develope this craft with your students you can encourage them to show it at home! Probably they won't tell it in English but I'm sure they will have a good time demostrating how good they are in the kitchen! While they cook at home their parents could ask their children for some vocabulary in English! Don't worry if they don't want to answer. It doesn't mean they didn't learn it, maybe it is just a shame matter. They will externalize their English knowledge whenever they feel they are ready to do it!

The web also gives you the chance to send them your own recipes (in English of course) and then they will post them on the web! You could try to write one with your students and at home it's also a good excuse to practice some English!

I think cooking can be a funny activity to work with young children (and not too young..!) but it's important to be careful with the tools you use. You can try some recipes that don't need to be actually cooked and that will rest some risks.

Some ideas could be:
  • With toothsticks insert jelly beans and you will get some funny bar snacks!
  • You need a sponge cake, "nutella" and jelly beans or fruit. Spread the nutella on the sponge cake and decorate it with the jelly beans or fruit! Try to create a face or a landscape!

Now is your turn. Let's cook!