The one with attention getters for classroom management

Woman with hands on head, yelling, text: Stop yelling! Attention getters for Upper Elementary
Don’t let yelling be your classroom management strategy!

One of the first things I establish in my classroom each year is how the heck I’m going to get their attention. I’m well-known for having a noisy classroom, which is sometimes because I have a chatty class, but mostly because I believe in productive chatter and partner work. My classes learn quickly that I don’t mind chatter as long as they’re on task and getting their work done. But if they’re talking all the time, how do I get their attention to stop?? Here are some easy to use attention getters for solid classroom management.

  • Call and response: Use a phrase and have them call back. 1-2-3 eyes on me, 1-2 eyes on you is a classic. There are also silly ones like “Yeti, yeti,” “Spaghetti!” or “Chicka, chicka” “boom, boom!”
  • Clap rhythm: Clap out a pattern and have students repeat it back.
  • Whisper directions: Very quietly give directions until all students have their eyes on you. “If you can hear me, clap once.” “If you can hear me, put your hands on your head.” Everyone catches on pretty quickly, plus you can see who is paying attention and have them get their hands off supplies.
  • Lights off: This only works if you have your lights on all day, but just a quick flip or two of the switch can get everyone’s attention. The only struggle with this is sometimes making it to the light switch!
  • Hand up: One of my favorite veteran teachers (she taught for 40 years!) used this. She held her hand up, and her second graders quickly followed suit- hands up, mouths closed, eyes on her. It takes a lot of practice, but it definitely works!
  • Wireless doorbell: This one is great because you can carry the remote in your pocket! I’ve also seen teachers attach it to their lanyards in case you don’t have a pocket. You can use one of the hand sanitizer travel size holders.

Two important things to remember: choose attention getters that work for you and be flexible, every class is different. Personally, I don’t like the clap rhythm, so I don’t ever use that one on my own, but I know many teachers who love it. I’ve used all the other methods, and I will switch them up for different transitions. For example, the wireless doorbell is perfect for a 5 min warning and then switching during rotations/centers. The whisper directions are great during a project with lots of supplies, so I can get students to put down their supplies and be prepared to listen.

What’s your favorite attention getter?

For more transition tips, be sure to check out this blog post.

SEL Google Check In Form, Image: Google Form on a tablet with colored pencils on the right side

You can also snag this free, easy to use Google Form™ to check in with students. A big part of classroom management is community building! This free form helps me to see how my students are doing.

This post may contain some affiliate links, which means if you click on one of the links and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission. You will never incur a fee or charge for this.

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