The Attentionology Traveler

a world of ideas at your fingertips!

Hi! A change in my travel plans due to Hurricane Sandy’s approach along the east coast of the US prompted me to share another attention catcher – keeper…


See if you could use this attentionology tool too…

Is there anything more attention-getting than a public service announcement in a school, at the airport, wherever…with these words…”May I have your attention please; due to (insert situation here)…all (insert change plans here).”

Research suggests that children benefit from stability, but the world that we live in is anything but stable, in so many ways. So, teachers like us can help elementary school students learn to cope with change and successfully travel through a world of uncertainty by introducing and interpreting signs of change in the course of our instruction.

Implementing this strategy involves creative thinking on our part. For  example, I recently taught in a school where one of the teachers I worked with had posted a sign at the front of her classroom that read in English CAFE,


like you see in my blog pic here.

The teacher’s original intent with this set of four signs  was to remind her students about key factors in reading.

As the signs show,

= comprehension.

= accuracy.

F = fluency.

E = expand vocabulary.

I looked again at this set of signs, on the heels of changed plans due to a major storm, and discovered that each letter in the word CAFE took on a new, expanded meaning. You may be able to use these new meanings too.

Beyond the connection with key reading skills I saw that…

C = comprehension and change. Stories are to be understood but they change with the fiction and non-fiction that we introduce to children and the fiction and non-fiction that they discover on their own.

A = accuracy. Accuracy today, in an information and technology-driven world requires much more than just accuracy in identifying words; children need to learn that fact checks matter, too.

F = fluency. Elementary school students today need to develop the ability to  read and speak smoothly, not only in their first language, but also in other languages of the world. Just visit an airport to know this! Anything that teachers can do to help develop children’s awareness of the “global community” will benefit their students.

E = expand vocabulary. This is a great concept, but do you agree that it’s important to also expand, in age-appropriate ways, not only students’ vocabulary in their first language, but also their interest in finding and using words that relate to a world of change.

See if you catch and keep your class’ attention with these words, “We have a change of plans for our school schedule today…” Bet you do!

Traveling on…

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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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 are having trouble writing connecting sentences between the beginning, middle and end of a story.

Solution: Show toy airplanes, pretending to make them "take off" across notebook paper. Explain to the class that stories, like airplanes, require clear "flight paths."

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