Picture the setting… You’ve completed the mini lesson and students are independently working on their assignments. They’ve read quietly for [X] amount of minutes and begin to share with their group/team their discoveries. The excitement begins to rise inside the classroom and although they are on task, the noise levels are high. You forgot to explain one additional thought that could enhance their group work time but need to grab their attention. What are some ways to grab their attention? Here are five call backs/attention grabbers that could help/

  1. Popular Tunes: One school is right next to the local McDonalds. Her class was on task but the noise level started to distract other classes. She walked to the center of the class and sang, McDonald’s jingle, “Bad-dah-dah-dah-dah?” The class responded, “I’m loving it.” Everyone stopped and looked at the teacher weird. She grabbed their attention and addressed the noise level. Others have used the Kit Kat jingle, Farmer’s Insurance, State Farm, and others.
  2. Provide a Command: A classic I hear used often is, “If you can hear my voice (insert action).” I’ve used this one myself with the tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It. Students and adults have gotten a kick of out of it; however, I don’t pull this one out every single time. It’s a once in a semester type of usage.
  3. Make a Sound: Some teachers ring a triangle, ding a bell, play a note on a miniature xylophone and others have purchased a wireless doorbell from Amazon. Some teachers use their hands to perform a clapping rhythm sound and allow students to echo it. I’ve even heard one teacher use a plastic kazoo. #throwback Whatever makes a sound to get their attention, right?
  4. Use a Clock: One teacher keeps a timer on her wall and provides about 15 seconds for students to complete their thoughts and conversation before redirection. If that teacher needs to step in, she’ll set the timer and it starts with a beep. The students know the beep starts a 15 second countdown. The teacher never has to raise her voice to get their attention. Once the time goes off, the teacher shares and continues on.
  5. Countdown: This one is very similar to number 4. I use this one a lot, especially with adult workshops, keynotes and crowds. In the midst of one keynote, I had the audience turn and share with a partner (they did not know) a specific strategy they used. Imagine over 500 people sharing at the same time. It was loud but the energy was amazing! At the end of the two minute share, I needed to redirect the back to the keynote and did a countdown by saying, “Please come back with me in 5…4…. etc.”.

In the end, the attention grabber is to get the attention of the audience. It’s not used every 4 seconds when the class is too loud. If the class is too loud all the time, then, there’s a classroom management concern that could be addressed… and that’s for another post.

Try these attention grabbers. If you have other attention grabbers, feel free to share them below.

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