Hi and welcome back to Attention-ology for Teachers as we celebrate the second anniversary of my blog! A special thank you is in order, but first let’s look at a clever attention-getting trick successfully put to the test by a Media Center Specialist.
Lori Brannon is a “veteran” librarian in a Pre-K – 5 school. My blog pic below shows the doorway to the Media Center
where Lori greets class after class of kids, helping them develop literacy skills before sending them back to their grade-level teachers.
The empty doorway is a metaphor, I think, for a new school day. Picture this…students have yet to flood the library floor for storytelling time or gather at the reading tables. Lori is waiting inside her special teaching space – a colorful room full of books, computers, interactive screens and traditional white boards.
Once a school day has begun, that doorway is never quiet. In fact, Lori has noticed over the years that children no longer automatically know how to enter the Media Center quietly, sit down and get ready for reading. “Now we have to teach kids how to be quiet and to focus,” she asserts. That’s the reason educators need effective tools and tricks to catch and keep kids’ attention. “Kids today think and move so fast,” observes Lori, “I think that we as teachers have to change our ways to keep up, but also model quiet time and strive for a balance.”
Faced with the challenge of helping students stay focused during their visits to her Media Center, Lori has created a reward system. She offers an incentive for students to conduct themselves in an acceptable manner while in the library.
Lori explains, “My reward system started out with my giving cards to the students at the end of class when they behaved well. They in turn gave the cards to their teacher and she or he would offer rewards at the end of a term.” “That worked pretty well,” continues Lori, “but then sometimes I forgot the cards so I said to myself, you know what, I’m going to use an imaginary reward!” “Wow, what a concept,” Lori says, “because it’s so low maintenance.” “There’s nothing extra to keep track of, and for teachers that’s huge,” Lori concludes.
What’s Lori’s attention-getting trick? She SPRINKLES IMAGINARY SEASONAL REWARDS, a trick easily adaptable for use by teachers in individual classrooms. Check out
my blog pic here, taken in mid-March, and see Lori sprinkling imaginary four-leaf clovers for good luck as students prepare to leave the library.
Lori sprinkles different imaginary rewards throughout the school year and you can too! You may need to adjust your sprinkle collection to create climate-related symbols that suit your part of the world. Lori’s rewards include:
January – imaginary snowflakes that she asks students to catch on their tongues.
February – chocolate hearts that Lori says can have chocolate and/or vanilla sprinkles on them.
March – four-leaf clovers for good luck, as shown.
April – Lori sprinkles spring showers and reminds everyone that April showers bring May flowers. Note: Climate changes may prompt future reward adjustments.
May – This clever librarian sends imaginary flower petals falling. When Lori and I talked about her trick, I suggested that she could also give children the option of putting their flower petals in their pockets to give to someone they love.
June – Lori offers no-melt ice cream with rainbow sprinkles.
July – In traditional calendar schools at least in the Northern Hemisphere, summer vacation, not school, is in session this month. If you teach in a year-round school, you could sprinkle evening light from imaginary fireflies.
August – Lori sprinkles something suited to summer, like drops of suntan lotion, as her school year begins – an idea that promotes good health!
September – She sprinkles apples for the harvest; in October – candy corn that connects with Halloween celebrations; in November – falling leaves. Lori closes her calendar year of seasonal rewards in December – gifting students with imaginary cookies covered with holiday sprinkles.
Now for the special thank you I mentioned at the beginning of this blog…
I love writing to bring you a wide range of tools and tricks to catch and keep the attention of Pre K – 5 kids. My appreciation, at least in English, is expressed in the pic below.
I’m excited to report that after two years of publication online, my blog is now being read in forty-six countries and in six continents around the world!
So…Thanks, Gracias, Merci, Vielen Dank, Grazie, Dank ku, Tacka dig, Tesekkur ederiz, Obrigado (and all of the other languages not shown here) to all of my readers. I hope that you will continue to post comments as you read my weekly features and that the ideas shared here will benefit you and the children you teach.
Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in instructional settings!
Talk with you next week,
Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet