EXTRA Attention-Getters

Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!

Do your students sometimes race through their work like mine TRY to do?

I wrote the word TRY because I make a point to explain to kids in my writing classes that good writing, really good quality work of all kinds takes time…EXTRA time…that is to say EXTRA from a child’s perspective.

When children raise their hands after just five minutes of quiet, private writing time and call out, “I’m done!” I quickly reply, “When you think you’re done, you’ve only just begun.” I add this attention-getting command: “I want you all to take EXTRA time with your writing this week with me!”

Many teachers I’ve talked with agree that it’s important, especially in a competitive global marketplace, to help students learn to take the EXTRA time to produce the best results possible. Simply stated, “employers look for stand outs; demonstrating extra effort is one way to shine in a crowd.”

The need to instill this reality in children, beginning at a very young age, can place enormous pressure on kids (as well as teachers), as we all face growing challenges in the classroom.

I’ve had some success helping kids “buy in” to spending EXTRA time on their work using the following tools and tricks to catch and keep their attention.  I hope that the menu items below help you too. Each offers an opportunity for you to encourage your students to “go an EXTRA mile” with their work in school or at home…

“I’ve found a new important detail to add to my report.”

ADD EXTRA DETAILS – Send students back with their first drafts of non-fiction writing with a request that they do a little EXTRA research about their subject and add in EXTRA details to support and elaborate around the focus of their writing.

EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT! – Most elementary schools schedule library time each week. At the beginning of a school term, challenge your third, fourth or  fifth grade class to read more than one book about a single topic during that term. Ask your school librarian (one is shown in my blog pic below)

“Class, this book is about Alaska, one of the places you’ll be learning about in Social Studies this term.”

to support this plan.

Post a Bulletin Board with the header, Extra, Extra, Read All About It! Write subjects your class will be studying on individual cards and post them on the bulletin board. For example, you could write Planets or Weather as Science subjects and Multiplication as a Math subject.

Invite students to choose a card and borrow more than one book about that subject to read during the term. Request a written summary of each book. Consider offering EXTRA credit for EXTRA reading.

Challenging students to explore a subject in more than surface detail sends an important message…EXTRA work gets EXTRA attention!

MISSION POSSIBLE – Offer another opportunity for students to earn EXTRA credit by writing Study Challenge Cards, one for each student. Make up the challenges based on your curriculum and the class’ ability levels. Slip the cards into color-coded envelopes; for example, white for

Make a Mission Possible Extra Credit Assignment Box or Grab Bag.

fairly easy, yellow for moderately difficult, and green for difficult.

Drop the envelopes into a box, like you see in my blog pic here, or into a bag.

Invite students to take an envelope, accept “the mission” and get the work done.

NOTE: This blog pic shows a box titled Fun Zone Answers because the teacher that made this box decided to challenge her fifth grade class to figure out the questions that match the answers they picked…another attention-getter for EXTRA class work.

THE BIG E IS FOR MORE THAN ENERGY! – You may have read my blog posts about showing “The Big E”

“The Big E is for more than Energy; it also stands for EXTRA EFFORT!”

to remind kids that you need to see them using energy to get good work done in school.

Hold up a giant letter E, like you see me doing in my blog pic here, and tell the class that The Big E stands for more than Energy; it’s also The Big E for EXTRA EFFORT!

I love attentionology tools with multiple uses; don’t you!

WHO’S GETTING AN EXTRA EFFORT AWARD? – A local television station offers a weekly Extra Effort Award to a high school senior in the viewing area that holds an exemplary record in sports and academics.

Consider offering an Extra Effort Award to a deserving student at a designated time such as the end of a school term or before a holiday break.

Awards send a message…extra effort gets noticed and rewarded. Other concepts for Extra Attention-Getter activities to consider:

  • extra special helpers
  • extra thanks at holiday time or other special times
  • extra treats for hard-working kids

Focus some extra attention on UNIVERSAL CHILDREN’S DAY – NOVEMBER 20 – According to event promoter, Association for Childhood Education International™ (ACEI), Universal Children’s Day is observed as a day of activity devoted to promoting ideals and objectives related to the welfare of all children of the world.

Sponsored by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), this year’s campaign is Love Me, Teach Me. Google UNICEF or ACEI to find ways that you and your class can participate in a global conversation about children.

Children around the world benefit from love and education! Join UNICEF’s Love Me, Teach Me campaign.

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

Talk with you again soon,

BarbaraThe Lovable Poet

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