Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Attention Getters: Classroom Management Series

This post is part of my Classroom Management Series. Click here to read other posts from the series.

When I graduated from college, I worked as a classroom aide for the 1st and 2nd grade level team. There was one first grade teacher who amazed me. The room would be all aflutter with little people chatting and moving and everything else that comes with being 6 years old. And then this teacher would just start talking. She would literally say, "Boys and Girls...(insert whatever she needed to tell them)" and the entire class would freeze, look and listen. Just by talking in a normal tone at a conversation volume. WHAT?

I still don't know what kind of voodoo spell she cast over them to make that magic happen, but I assure you, I have never seen it replicated anywhere or at anytime.
It's just not normal. I gave up trying to figure it out and instead worked on creating an arsenal of attention getters that have the same effect.

My "bag of tricks" includes the following:
  • I say, "1-2-3 eyes on me." They repeat, "1-2 eyes on you."
  • I clap a pattern. They repeat it.
  • I say in a soft voice, "If you can hear me clap once." This is followed with, "If you can hear me stomp once and clap twice." And so on.
However, my go to trick. My numero uno. The key playa-playa in my teaching game is....

Me: "Class"
Them "Yes"

And then there is you. You are either nodding your head in agreement or else you are thinking, "huh?" I'll explain.

The "Class / Yes" thing is from the artist formerly known as Power Teaching. It now goes by the name of "Whole Brain Teaching." I've been using it for 5 years and it is phenomenal. I love all aspects of it, but I especially like the "Class / Yes" attention getter. Check out the video below from a 1st grade classroom to get a sample of what Whole Brain Teaching has to offer and then visit their site.

How do you command attention in your classroom? Leave a comment to share your ideas!

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  1. I use chimes...they freeze and look at me. Also I use 123 eyes on me 456 my eyes are fixed. Those have worked best for me!

  2. This is incredible! I think I may try the class/yes thing tomorrow! :)

    Thanks for sharing!
    Colleen Patton

  3. Oh, and I use chimes, T: "one, two" Students "eyes on you" or even songs where I sing "I'm looking, I'm looking, and what do I see? I see ______ sitting quietly"

  4. I use Quiet Coyote. It's a hand sign that looks like the I love you sign, but you put your thumb and two middle fingers together. (I'll go post about this on my site so you can see a pic.) Quiet Coyote has his mouth closed and his ears are ready to listen. When I put up Quiet Coyote my students do too.

    Rowdy in First Grade

  5. Ummm... I'm in LOVE with this trick! I, too, use the soft voice and "if you can hear me, touch your nose, etc". It works usually, but I am totally trying this out tomorrow!! Thanks for the great visual :)

  6. I started using whole brain teaching last year and the "class" "yes" works really well. We have large class sizes (25+) at our school and this method is really effective at getting their attention. "Hands and eyes" not only tells them that I am ready to teach, it also gets them into a position to learn without playing with pencils or other items. This is definitely a high energy method of teaching!

  7. I use a lot of different ones in my classroom. I find it more effective to use a call and response type thing then just saying can I have your attention. When the kiddos have to respond back to me I have everyone attention in a fun way

    I made some attention getters and posted them on my blog here http://pocketfullofkinders.blogspot.com/2011/08/attention-grabbers-freebie_09.html

    Ms. Patterson
    Pocket Full of Kinders

  8. I use something very similar to class/yes. Years ago I took my class to an exhibit of African-American women quilters. The docent used the phrase "ah-go" to call for attention and the kids answer "ah-may". It comes from Africa and I have heard it's meaning in a couple of different ways. One being "are you there/yes, I'm here". I have used this method exclusively for the last 14 years of teaching and every class has respinded so wonderfulky to it. The fun part is that the kids have to respond in the same way I call. The ways are endless. My most favorite part is that I always carry this tool with me. i don't have to get to a bell or chime.

  9. I started using Class/Yes a couple of years ago and I LOVE IT!! My firsties love it and it's always a success!!

    Fun In First

  10. I have used "Stop and listen, hands up" for the last 10 years. It works great. If it's a noisy time, I'll ring my chime first and then announce that. Students must stop what they're doing and put their hands on their heads. That way nobody is still playing, or half-listening. I like that it's visual, audio, and kinesthetic. It's a total-physical-response method that engages the whole child. I've had classes of 26-31 every year and it always works like a charm.

  11. I've started using Power Teaching in my classroom this year. It's fun! I also use a few I found online with my class, such as...
    T: Hocus Pocus!
    Class: Everybody Focus!

    T: Mac and Cheese
    Class: Everybody Freeze

  12. I use the clap a pattern, too. I learned it from a mentor teacher when I was a student teacher, and have used it ever since.

    Runde's Room

  13. I love that video you posted! Actually I'm obsessed with it!!!!!!! How come I never new about it before!!!?!?!?!

  14. I use Gimme 5. Its a simple and effective strategy for littles and biggies. I explian it at http://twistofliam.blogspot.com/2011/06/heres-quickie-for-who-is-for-different.html

    ✪ Liam ✪
    Twist of Liam

  15. I have been stalking your blog and a few others all summer. I am going to use whole brain teaching this year. I have been watching their videos, and reading everything on their site. Any tips that you can give me? Have you used the smiley/frownies? and the other parts of this program? I am starting my blog shortly.http://teachingrocksadventures.blogspot.com

  16. I use Chrsi Biffle too!!! I love this in my room. It works with all classes. There are some new tips I got from the video though. Thanks!
    Come share with me!

  17. I've used clapping patterns, 3-2-1-done, if you can hear my voice _____, pointing out a student who looks ready, and more. I tried Class/Yes today, and it was the fastest way yet to get their attention. Granted it was new and different, but after day 1 of it, I give it a big thumbs up! Thanks so much for sharing!

  18. Wow! What an energetic teacher! I didn't blink the entire 6 minutes! lol


  19. We have really started to focus our RTI attention towards behavior this year. What we have noticed so far is that it's mainly teacher issues *classroom management* and not student issues.

  20. WOW! I had heard of Whole Brain Teaching but knew nothing about it! I am DEFINITELY going to be trying the "oh class" thing! Thanks for the tip!

    Currently I use the clapping patterns, "If you can hear my voice...," my bell during loud group work, etc. They work pretty well, but I'm excited to try the new one. :)

    Also, my fave part was, "oh sweet mama, I can hardly wait!" LOL


  21. I use 'give me five'. The children have to give me 2 eyes, 2 ears and one closed mouth then they put their hand up in the high five position.


  22. I discovered these Whole Brain videos a couple years ago and have been using parts of it too. I LOVE the Class/Yes. It really works well. I forgot the Hands and Eyes part. :) I also use the rules and we repeat them tn a call & response sing-songy way. The kids love it and I think it really helps.

    Also, I just wanted you to be the first to know that I started a teacher blog. You were the first blog I found last summer. You truly inspired me to be more organized and a better, more positive teacher. I have been inspired by so many others since, but I'd like you to be first to see my new blog. I am just starting out and have a lot to learn. I have already linked to your site in a couple places as you were the inspiration for the item. :) I hope you enjoy and thank you again!

    Tawnya Scherck - Also a mom of twin girls! ;)

  23. I use Class, Yes with my 4th graders and I also use a clap XXXXX, they repeat the clap.

  24. Wow! I'm impressed!!! I saw "Class, class, class...yes, yes, yes." Last year and used it in my room with tremendous success. I like the other idea of "123 eyes on me...456 my eyes are fixed." Teachers are so great about sharing :)

  25. Love Whole Brain Teaching, I love that it encourages active listening and gives students a chance to have a little fun too


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