Create an Opportunity Bag for Attention

Hi and welcome back to Attention-ology for K – 5 Teachers!

Let’s face it…many elementary school students view school as a must-do chore and some see it as an engaging center of learning and fun.

Whether or not a student grasps the value of a good education during their elementary school years, every child benefits from learning at an early age how to stay on task.

Creating an Opportunity Bag for Attention is a cool tool for school because it fosters important skills and creativity at the same time, to help kids develop a lifelong ability to focus.

It’s a safe bet that your elementary school students will love getting an Opportunity Bag for Attention because it will very likely remind them of party bags at special events like birthday celebrations.

How to make an Opportunity Bag for Attention?

For students in grades 4 and 5, I recommend using clear inexpensive cellophane bags like small “baggies” or clear bags used to protect newspapers from bad weather at delivery time.  I like for students to be able to see the objects inside the bag before they open it and guess at the attention-related symbolism of each object.

For students in grades K – 3, I use more decorative cellophane bags with colors and designs that are attractive to young children. Decorative cellophane bags come in seasonal packs – 20 or 25 count – and are usually available at “dollar stores” in the US. This type of bag is also sold in party supply stores.

The objects I make and/or choose for K – 3 Opportunity Bags for Attention have more obvious connections to listening and learning skills but I’ve discovered that even young children understand symbols when they are introduced clearly.

It’s important that each student receive his or her own Opportunity Bag so that the experience is personal.

Choose any of the following attention-related objects that suit your grade level. Be as creative as you want to be in making and choosing other objects that add value to the way you use this attention-ology tool.

  • star stickers to symbolize star listeners
  • chocolate kisses or other small candy as a sweet thank you for staying on task
  • small inexpensive pencil sharpeners to remind students to get to the point
  • small achievement certificates (Use a copier to print reduced-size certificates) to make the connection between paying attention and achieving goals
  • smallest value coin in your currency to remind students that a good education is a path toward earning power

When you distribute the Opportunity Bags for Attention to your class, it’s important to take time together to invite students to guess at the symbolism of each object and discuss the attention connections. In grades 4 and 5 you might ask students to suggest other objects that could serve as symbols of staying on task.

By the way, to save yourself preparation time with this attention-ology tool, you can simply collect the bags and objects and ask for class assistants to distribute them after you announce that your students will each receive an Opportunity Bag for Attention.

Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in instructional settings!

Talk with you next week,

BarbaraThe Lovable Poet

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One comment on “Create an Opportunity Bag for Attention
  1. Nick McIver says:

    Wow–a tool for helping kids stay focused—in a way that is fun for them—-and helps the teacher de-stress I would think-
    how could the teacher feedback be anything but positive?

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Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
Quick tips for common classroom conundrums: K-5
Situation: Students continue to use lackluster verbs in their writing.

Solution: Show toy cars and pretend to make them zip across a page, telling the class that good writing includes action words (verbs) that have "zip." Ask the class for examples of "zippy" verbs like zoom, race, flash, rush, etc.

Related Posts: Start Students' Engines for Writing