The Magic Hat – Mid-Week Focus – Playing with Words

Hats off to teachers…it’s time for…Mid-Week Focus!

Mid-Week Focus is all about quick and easy ways to approach teaching to keep kids on task in any instructional setting.

Let’s share insight and practical ideas. Let’s blend fun with function AND creativity. When we develop and use our creative skills, we model the creative process for the children we teach.

Creativity is contagious! Tap your own and the kids around you will catch it.

One of the best ways to play (teach) with creativity is playing with words.

Meet Ms. Pink. She’s the little girl in my blog pic below.

Ms. Pink is participating in a library program with classmates.

Ms. Pink isn’t her real name, of course; it’s one that I’ve given her as a nickname. Necessity serving as the mother of invention, I make up an attention-getting descriptive name, like Ms. Pink, when I don’t know a child’s name in a school that’s new to me. Kids love the colorful recognition.

Even if you teach the same children every day, you’ll attract extra attention when you unexpectedly call them by a clever new name.

Fast and funny – Playing with words to catch and keep kids’ attention is most effective when you “play” fast with funny names, words, phrases.

Disciplining with Word Play– Say a student is working independently

“Please drop your voice level, Mr. Computer Man.”

or with a tutor on the computer, like the boy in my blog pic here. The child is in the back of your classroom and has gotten noisy while you’re teaching a lesson to the rest of the class.

Try this…“Excuse me for a second, class; let me give a shout out to Mr. Computer Man in back and ask him to PLEASE DROP YOUR VOICE LEVEL.” Pause to be sure that your message has been received; then say “Thanks, let’s get back to work.” 

This discipline approach 1) catches everyone’s attention 2) prevents hurtful embarrassment for the “offender” because you’ve infused humor 3) causes minimal disruption to your lesson 4) stands a good chance of achieving desired results.

Come to Your Senses – No matter how many communication options you have at your fingertips, during, before or after class time, bank on catching and keeping attention by playing with words that connect to the five senses.

Playing with words focused on the five senses can include personification – another cool trick. For example, before you lead students into private quiet writing time, shown in my blog pic here, ask, “How do the seasons sound?” “Sound,” they might say…”who ever heard of that!”

Read them my poem, Seasonal Sounds, below, to explain. (Sound words are in bold type.)

Then ask them to write with creativity, playing with words.

Seasonal Sounds

How do the seasons sound?

Where I live

hot summer sunshine laughs freely,

fireflies silently light up the evening sky.

Fall whispers while leaves float down to the ground,

owls hidden in dark trees hoot beneath the moon,

farmers groan as they lift giant pumpkins.

Winter howls with snow-blowing wind,

dogs bark at ice tap, tap, tapping on cold windows,

fireplaces crackle and hiss with burning logs.

Then comes gentle spring singing songs of renewal –

“The peepers are back, the peepers are back.”

Colors call to us to come outside and play.

How do the seasons sound to you?

Playing with words is much more than child’s play; it’s a magical teaching tool!

Stop by next Wednesday for more Mid-Week Focus. On Monday Attentionology will be back with more magic.

All the best,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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