The Attentionology Traveler

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Hi! I reunited with another attention catcher – keeper. See if you could use this tool too…

Show me THE BIG E! (You may need to substitute “E” for the first letter of your alphabet that begins the word energy in your language.) Read on…

My heart ached for  many of the children I taught last week, a new (to me) group of tired-looking, tired-acting third grade students.

I walked into what I call “Slouch City” the first day. There before me, children with circles under their eyes, very few smiles, downcast-looking, many with vacant expressions.

Has this been your experience? Other teachers I’ve discussed this experience with have said that they’ve seen this sad state too. Children seem to be exhausted even at the start of the school day. They also seem to be feeling a huge amount of pressure to perform to test standards these days (ring a bell for our own situation as teachers?)

Of course I felt for the kids, but my mind elbowed me with a reminder that my job in the classroom is not to evaluate the educational system; it’s to “get the class in gear” encouraging them to the make the most of our week together.

What did I do to wake up the sleepyheads? I explained that I needed them to SHOW ME THE BIG E!

This attentionology trick is absolutely classroom-tested. Try it! You’ll like it; I promise!

Kids in every grade, K – 5, LOVE THE BIG E. The name alone sounds so friendly. Here’s how I bring THE BIG E into the class’ consciousness:

I outline our day/week ahead and as we talk together, I say this,” When you see me come through the door, I want you to think of THE BIG E. I need you to show me ENERGY!” “We have to pull it up and out from within ourselves.” I continue. “We have to use self-discipline.”

I explain to the class that it takes ENERGY to get good work done. “When we write, ________________________ (add in any task that suits your instructional needs) we take what is in our minds and our hearts, and with our hands, we get the work done.” I point to my head, my heart and I hold my hands out in front of me to add emphasis to the message.

I tell the class that I have THE BIG E with me,

THE BIG E loves kids that show energy to get good work done!

like you see in my blog pic here.

I reach into my teaching bag and dramatically pull out a giant blue letter E. Sometimes the kids clap for it, seriously!

As the week goes along, some students ask me to show them THE BIG E again; the large blue letter becomes a friend to them. Even when I don’t show it, I can refer to THE BIG E any time I need to remind kids to stay out of “Slouch City.”

Ask me if the 100 students I worked with last week had fun AND got a lot of good work done. Yes they did, and I think a big reason why is my introduction and application of THE BIG E!

Traveling on…

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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Posted in Attentionology for K-5 Teachers, The Attentionology Traveler
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