Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!
What in the world! I’m mixing up the publication of Attentionology features, posting The Attentionology Traveler on a Monday – what’s up?
What’s up is that new mixes and new matches are time-tested attention-getters.
Most kids enjoy mix-ups. Mix-ups are memorable. Ever taken a family trip when the car got a flat tire or broke down? Do the kids remember the sightseeing? No! They remember the vacation mix-up.
Today’s post features tidbits for teachers that I’ve discovered in my travels since last week. See if you can find a tidbit or two, turned into attentionology tricks and tools, that will work for you…
One Happy Classroom – Last Saturday I walked by a parked car from the Caribbean Island of Aruba; it had a license plate above the front bumper that read One Happy Island – Aruba. “What a simple but powerful expression is that!” I thought to myself. Modified for school, how about greeting students at the beginning of a term with this…“Welcome to one happy classroom!” Tell the class, “That’s what we are and will be this term.” Happy is good.
Hang up a big surprise – A giant butterfly,
the one you see in my blog pic here, graces the wall of a classroom where I recently taught. The butterfly’s size and color are instant attention-grabbers, but what else could this giant do, I wondered?
Here’s an idea…If you can find a BIG something, like this decorative insect, to hang up in your classroom as a surprise, try using it as a writing prompt. Simple lead Q: “How did the _________________ (fill in an appropriate description) get to be so big?” Students will engage in some fantastic writing.
Been there, done that…NO! – I asked a gym acquaintance recently, an older man who is retired from work in law enforcement, if he was enjoying the holiday season. His quick reply…“No, not really, been there, done that.” I nodded out of courtesy, but as I continued race-walking around the track, I felt a little sadness, not for myself, but for people like this man who have grown weary of annual traditions, like those that we celebrate during holidays.
A moment later I pulled out of my funk with the knowledge that teachers of elementary school children can ward off the sense of “been there, done that” because we’re able to see the joy of holidays and other special occasions through the eyes of children for whom the world is still unfolding.
Attentionology Q to ask kids: “Name something you do that you think you could do even better.” Teachers can plant seeds of positive attitudes in children with challenges like this Q that advise, in so many words…please don’t grow into someone who goes around saying, “Been there, done that.”
Send Thank You Poems – As 2012 draws to a close, it’s a good time to encourage children to express appreciation for special people in their lives, especially those (in addition to you) that have helped them this year!
Thank You Poems are delightful attention-getting tools. Let’s say, for example, that you and your class decide to give Thank You Poems (or one collective class poem)
to your school’s Spanish teacher, like Luis Cortes, shown in my blog pic here.
Teachers like Mr. Cortes will never forget your gifts…bi-lingual poem(s), translated from your language into Spanish, with the help of Google Translation, if you need it.
You may decide to invite your class to write Thank You Poems to family members or best friends.
If it suits your grade level, share my poem, Special People, (printed below) with your students to jump-start their writing.
Younger kids can write just a few lines to express thanks.
Too many to mention, special people we know;
they may be our best friends, or a funny cast of actors
on a favorite TV show.
Special people are all around us; what do special people do?
They add joy to our lives,
offering help and understanding when we feel blue.
Each family has someone or two who are by far
the most special people, the ones we like to talk and be with;
we know who they are.
You’re very special to me, _________________(insert name).
Thank you for being there; you’re a star!
If you find yourself feeling weary as December flies by, take heart in this…the most powerful way to catch and keep kids’ attention may be as simple as saying thank you…thank you for being such special students.
Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting!
Talk with you again soon, and THANK YOU for visiting Attentionology this year.
Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet