Hi and welcome back to Attention-ology for K – 5 Teachers!
In many parts of the world, teachers and students are preparing for the start of a new school year as the calendar nears its turn to September.
First day (or for that matter, first week-of-school) jitters can add to attention problems for students, especially kids who would love to postpone the start of school altogether.
Catch your class’ attention by inviting students to enjoy “Mini Mind Wandering Time,” at a time when it’s clear students are not at their attention-best.
Imagine their surprise when you unexpectedly give them permission to NOT pay attention – that is , to not pay attention for a limited amount of time.
You might lead into “Mini Mind Wandering Time” with a short poem you share with the class. Something along the lines of…
Why oh why oh why am I
sitting here in school
when I could be swimming
in my neighborhood pool?
Entertain your students by making up a funny name for the poet you pretend to be quoting. In English, you might use a name like Ida B. Neverreddy. Explain that Ida likes to complain; her mind wanders all the time. Ask your students to guess how well Ida does in school.
After you share Ida’s poem, you might say that since it appears that many students share the feeling expressed by the poet, it’s worth taking time to mind wander like Ida, but ONLY for _________ minutes before “we all get back to work.”
Besides using “Mini Mind Wandering Time” as an attention-getting trick, that is, giving students a break from your class structure before you ask them to focus back, you can use MMWT as a pre-writing tool.
Pre-writing involves choosing a FOCUS for a poem or story. If students have trouble thinking of a fictional focus, encourage them to spend “Mini Mind Wandering Time.” Ask where they wish they could be if they could be anywhere right now. Suggest that students jot down any answers to that question. Traveling by memory or imagination can lead to some wonderful settings for writing…and for learning.
Wishing you all the best in the 2010 – 2011 school year. Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in instructional settings!
Talk with you next week,
Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet