Gathering the Attention of Your Students

How do you get your student’s attention? Using attention getters can allow you to refocus your student’s attention quickly, without wasting learning time in the classroom.

Attention getters are simple, often repeatable, communication techniques used to gather your student’s attention. They should be quick, and different than the regular procedures and noises of the classroom. Below is a short list of attention getter ideas.

  • Simple Countdown (Eyes up in 3, voices off in 2, tracking in 1, 0)
  • Sensory Reminders (Lights on and off, music on and off, etc.)
  • Call and Response (When I say “bring it”, you say “back”)
  • Quick Movement (3 jumping jacks and eyes on me)

Dr. Sharrocky Hollie, a leader in Culturally Responsive Teaching (Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning (2nd Edition)), discusses the importance of adding rhythm, chants, and music to the classroom. This can help validate student’s family, youth, and ethnic culture in the classroom. Attention getters are a great place to begin practicing these strategies (another is props and love).

There are two important aspects to remember while implementing attention getters in your classroom. First, be consistent with how you utilize the strategy. Students need to know what to expect when you begin the attention getter. Second, be sure to explicitly teach students your expectations with the attention getters. Just like most skills in school, students need to be taught what to expect when you begin an attention getter.

Finally, be creative! Put a little bit of yourself into your attention getters. Make them unique, fun, and different than those around you!

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