Give yourself a hand!

Hi; hope you’ve had a good week and welcome back to Attention-ology for K – 5 Teachers!

I’ve been busy announcing my new blog to other teachers and parents and making plans for ways to enhance it.  I’ve also been doing more research on attention-getting strategies that other educators use with success in their elementary school classrooms so that I can share them here.

Hand clapping – simple, upbeat & personal – As you may know, when teachers want students’ eyes and ears, many clap their hands in a one, two – one, two, three sequence and ask their students to repeat the same sequence by clapping their own hands. This is a quick, easy, fairly effective way to preface giving the class directions or making important announcements.

Any activity like hand clapping that requires students to use more than one of their five senses stands a good chance of catching and keeping their attention.  Hand clapping has audio and sensory elements.  When a teacher starts clapping, the sound surprises the class. Delightful surprises always get attention!

As I listened this past week to teachers describe some of their attention-getting strategies, I realized that one of the best ways to know what works is to learn what doesn’t.  While my associates in education and I were talking, I noticed them roll their eyes when they mentioned the common old practice of flipping the classroom light switch off and on to direct the class to quiet down.  Two thoughts ran through my mind during this part of our conversation.  First, it was obvious that switching classroom lights on and off seemed to be a nuisance to the teachers who used this strategy. (I’ve never used this flip trick.) Second, the light switch strategy probably lost its punch after one or two uses.

Elementary students today are used to being offered variety in just about everything.  So, give yourself a hand if you’re striving to vary the attention-getting strategies you use with children.

Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in instructional settings!

Talk with you next week,

BarbaraThe Lovable Poet

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