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FOCUS on Classroom Management: Week 1 - Focus Attention on You!

All too often, the most common mistake many teachers make is starting a lesson without all of the students' attention. Eager to get into teaching, a teacher might begin the lesson while some students are visiting with their neighbor, searching through their desks, or even walking around the classroom!

One of the best practices you can use is to get your students into the habit of giving you their attention with a special signal. Whether you're on a field trip or your students are working on group projects, an attention signal will help out no matter what the situation is. Here are a few ideas:

  • Clap in a rhythm and have your students clap the remainder of the pattern.
  • Ring a bell once.
  • Raise your hand quietly and wait until everyone else has his or her hand raised.
  • Give them five seconds to get in order. You might say, "Class, I need your attention in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1." By the time you get to "1", all attention should be on you. Sometimes students need a few seconds after a signal to be ready. This method proves to work well in such cases.

This next step is very important. DO NOT begin until you have everyone's attention. If you continue without their attention, students will feel like it's OK for them to show disrespect for the person who is speaking. Teach that when it takes longer to gain their attention, a consequence may follow. One such consequence may be taking time away from recess or removing other privileges from the disrupting student(s). Maintaining consistency with this procedure will help students to quickly learn what you expect from them. This is also an important lesson for students to learn as it pertains to substitutes, guest speakers, and peers who are presenting information to the class in the future.

Action Thought:

  • What will my "attention signal" be for my teaching?
  • Will it be always be the same?
  • Why is it important?

NEXT: Out and About in the Room - Week 2

Seminar Outline:

Welcome to FOCUS on Classroom Management
F - Focus Attention on You! - Week 1
O - Out and About in the Room - Week 2
C - Cuing Students: Verbal and Non-Verbal - Week 3
U - Use Praise Effectively; Use Rewards Selectively - Week 4
S - Seek Help When Needed - Week 5

25 Children. One Classroom. You are the Teacher. ARE YOU READY?!

A wealth of experience is waiting for you in Surviving Your First Year (or Any Year!) of Teaching and Loving It!. This great guide, authored by Kris Thurgood and Kim Christopherson, has helped thousands of teachers understand the four essentials for running a successful classroom and begin experiencing the joys of teaching. The eBook, which includes nearly 50 ready-to-use reproducibles, can be ordered and downloaded RIGHT NOW for only $9.95! Your satisfaction is guaranteed.


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