Hi and welcome back to Attention-ology for K – 5 Teachers!
News to report since my post last week…my Attention-ology blog is now on Twitter @attentionology. Hope you’ll tweet along with me about tools and tricks to catch and keep kids’ attention and help them achieve success in school. I hope, too, that more of you will add quick comments on my blog; just scroll down the page and “leave a comment.” Just like I tell all of my students and the teachers whose classes I visit…”I’m here for you!”
Got your passport handy? We’re heading to Russia to meet Elena Toshkar Ola who spent her elementary school years in a town near Kazan. Before I share Elena’s memories of her teachers’ science and math lessons in grades 2 – 4, let’s chat about the world map in my blog pic below. Maps large and small, are colorful eye-catching attention-ology tools themselves.
When I announce to my classes (you can do this too) that we’re about to begin a poetry or story or _______________ (you fill in the blank to suit your focus subject) odyssey, traveling the world of learning, I hold up this map. It’s small, I acknowledge, (it’s actually a plastic placemat that I bought for a buck at a big box store) so…here’s the attention grabber…I tell the students, “you’ll have to watch closely to see where I’m pointing to show you where we are and where we’re going.”
I might ask the class a search question…for example, “Can you find the southern neighbor of the United States? and invite a student to come forward and point to Mexico. The other students watch to see if he or she gets it right. What color is Mexico on this map? I ask a second easy-to- answer question to keep the class engaged. “Green is correct!” I praise everyone with a smile and follow up with the phrase, “and for us, green also means GO!” This signals the continuation of my lesson.
Eyes on the world map, let’s take a (imaginary) trip to Russia. See if you like Elena’s teachers’ tools and tricks, ones that she remembers from many years ago. (They must have some attention-ology power.)
For Science in Grades 2 – 4, Elena explains that her teacher would introduce two characters at the beginning of the school year…
- Znaika, (Znay-ee-ka) a very knowledgeable boy with a big desire to learn who wore eyeglasses but no hat on his head and…
- Nee-Znaika, (Ney-znay-ee-ka) a boy who wore a big pointy hat and always got in trouble.