TCHERS' VOICE / Class Culture

Video Playlist: 7 Minutes, 7 Attention-Getting Moves


This summer, Teaching Channel will be helping beginning teachers countdown to their first year of teaching. We'll walk you through the steps you'll need to take before the first day of school.

Being able to quickly and effectively get the attention of students is a crucial skill for any teacher. Without it, teachers can’t give directions, move on to new activities, assign work, provide feedback, or facilitate class conversations.

We’ve put together seven attention-getting methods geared towards several different age groups.

Have your own attention getting idea? Post it in the comments section below!

1. Attention-Getting Signals: One Spot: Mr. Romagnolo gets the attention of his class by designating a particular spot in the classroom, where he asks them to focus on him. The key to taking this tack, he says, is setting up a consistent routine so that students always know what is expected of them.

2. Attention-Getting Signals: Practice: In another look at Mr. Romagnolo’s class, we see how he varies some of his attention-getting techniques so that he can easily tell if his students are paying attention or not. He then practices these techniques with everyone until they become second nature.

3. Attention-Getting Signals: Mix It UpGetting the attention of younger students can be particularly difficult. Ms. Abdul-Wajid uses music and movement to keep her kindergartners focused.

4. Attention Getter: Say the Secret Word: In this classroom, Ms. Ramos has a secret weapon: a secret word that alerts her class to stop what they’re doing and listen to her.

5. Getting their Attention Without Saying a WordMs. Withers uses silence to get her class to quiet down. The value of her approach, she says, is that not all students have to be facing her for this technique to work. This is a plus if students are facing each other in small groups.

6. Drumming Up AttentionMs. Bailey engages students in a fun way by tapping out a quick beat, never having to raise her voice.

7. Whole Body Listening: Ms. Jaboneta works on active listening with her kindergartners, setting clear expectations while fostering an empathetic class culture.

Elizabeth Weiland is Teaching Channel’s Advertising and Licensing Account Manager. Follow her on Twitter, @ElizabetWeiland.

1 Comment
"If you can hear my voice, clap once. (Clap) If you can hear my voice, clap twice." (Clap, Clap) Teacher claps. Students clap as they gain back their attention to me.
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