The Magic Hat – Mid-Week Focus – Attention-Grabbing Games

Hats off to teachers…it’s time for Mid-Week Focus!

Mid-Week Focus is all about quick and easy ways to approach teaching to keep kids on task in any instructional setting.

Let’s share insight and practical ideas. Let’s blend fun with function, and LET’S CAPITALIZE ON CHILDREN’S LOVE OF GAMES, USING GAMES TO HELP KIDS LEARN!

What’s under the magic hat today?

What''s under the magic hat today?

What’s under the magic hat today?

A pocketful of attention-grabbing games to pick out and play with your class.

Some of the games I’m presenting today are as easy as counting from 1 to 3.

Others require a little more time.

Some of the games are played with simple, inexpensive materials like a deck of cards. I’m guessing that you already have what you need in your classroom.

Choose what’s age-appropriate for your students, or modify the games as needed, and connect what’s best with your curriculum. Ready to play? START HERE…

WHAT COLOR ARE YOU TODAY? This is a game that can become a new bulletin board because it can be played all year-long. In fact, I got the idea for this game when I was reading a bulletin board outside the psychologist’s office in a school where I recently taught.

Playing What Color Are You Today is a great way to start the school day. It can help kids (and you) get in touch with their feelings so that you can better anticipate student behavior and adjust accordingly.

Here’s how to play:

What color are you today?

What color are you today?

♣ Announce to the class that you’re ready to play What Color Are You Today?

♣ You can stand near a rainbow-colored “Dr. Seuss” hat like the one in my blog pic here or another graphic that shows a range of colors and begin the game.

♣ If you’re playing the game, either with a color graphic or by voice only, you’ll need to ask leading questions.

You’ll also need to ask for raised hand responses with this command repeated after each color, Raise your hand if you’re __________ (color) today:

Are you yellow like the sun, feeling happy inside? 

Are you as red as a stop sign today because you feel frustrated or upset? 

Are you orange today, loud and messy, like paint splashed on a wall?

Are you blue today, feeling sad or a bit lonely?

Maybe, you’re purple, bright and happy like a butterfly in the sky?

Are you soft gray today, like the ocean when it’s calm and as flat as glass?

You could be green; are you green and chirping with joy like a cricket singing its song?

Oh, wait, are you a rainbow today, with ALL of the colors of the world inside you?

♣ Depending on the time you have to play What Color Are You Today, choose colors that offer kids a range of feelings to express.

♣ If you play this game in grades 3 – 5 before your transition into Language Arts, you have the option of citing the similes in the color-related questions you asked; for example, yellow like the sun.

♣ The bulletin board I mentioned above is decorated with a big color circle of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple (I added soft gray), with large letters spelling each color. A rainbow reaches across the board above the circle. The header reads in large letters: I AM. Next to each color in smaller print, the similes above describe “being” each color, in short statements, not as questions like I’ve posed for the game.


"Pick a card, let's play; you won an activity to do today!"

“Pick a card, let’s play; you won an activity to do today!”

Card players get ready; this is a fast-paced fun game, best suited for kids in grades 3 – 5.

I got the idea for this game from a trainer at my gym.

She uses it to direct and motivate clients to perform various exercises.**

I watched her work and created an application for teachers.

This game needs a little bit of preparation before you introduce it to your class.

Here’s how to prepare & play:

♠ Before you introduce the game, get a deck of playing cards and plan an activity that corresponds to each suit. For example, you might make:

hearts = spell a word

clubs = guess the name of a country’s capital

diamonds = add to numbers aloud

spades = sing a line of a favorite song

** Like the trainer at my gym, you may decide to plan physical activities, like jumping jacks, and play this game in your classroom on a rainy day when recess is cancelled.

♠ Announce to the class that you’re ready to play Pick a Card, Win an Activity!

♠ Explain the game, telling the class the activities you’ve planned for each suit. Explain further that the number on each card is the number of times a student has to repeat the activity (with new information). Note that a King, Queen, Jack or Ace = 1 (lucky!) Note further that a Joker allows the student to pick another kid to play the game.

♠ Invite kids to randomly choose a card, one at a time and play as long as your schedule allows.

If winners take all, your whole class will “rake it in” because they’ll be playing with you as their Game Master-Teacher!

♦ Look for more attention-grabbing games in upcoming posts.

Talk with you again soon,

Barbara The Lovable Poet

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Posted in Attentionology for K-5 Teachers, Mid-Week Focus
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: Young students are getting noisy while you’re trying to teach.

Solution: Hold up "Listen Star," a toy magic wand that you’ve designated to be a cue for quiet. Tell the class, "When you see our friend, 'Listen Star' dance across the classroom sky, that’s your signal to HUSH for a moment."

Related Posts: Let "Listen Star" Work Magic for You