Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!
In classrooms that follow a traditional school calendar the year is winding down. How to keep kids’ attention now? Spin an imaginary “ferris wheel” of 15 very real fabulous attention-getting elements.
Attentionology has explored twelve of the FAB 15 elements so far…1) attracting appearance & presence 2) enthusiasm 3) voice 4) eye-catching visuals 5) word choice 6) color 7) music 8 entertainment 9) interaction 10) humor 11) surprise 12) dramatic movement.
Today I invite you to climb into the ferris wheel car that carries another FAB 15 element – imagination!
Keep kids focused with activities that incorporate this incredible tool for teaching and classroom management.
A-GE #13 – Imagination
The power of imagination is in every teacher’s hand.
Imagine yourself holding up an actual model of a hand and boldly announcing to your class that this hand is here to help every student reach their goals. Over school vacation, that goal may be for students to read twenty books.
Visual links to concepts like a helping hand draw on the power and magic of imagination.
When you hold out a simple paper hand cut-out and identify it as a helper, you invite kids to visualize themselves accepting help to get good work done. Play it up – show the hand and ask kids what they plan to get their hands on in the upcoming weeks.
Invite students to close their eyes and imagine themselves lending helping hands during the school break…helping an elderly neighbor, for example, or reading to younger family members.
Visualization is at the heart of the effectiveness of imagination. Encourage kids to visualize what they want to achieve…
…Explain that when we use our imaginations we picture what isn’t yet real. The key word is yet, because imagining something is often the first step to actually accomplishing it.
Adventure Ahead! Attention-Getters Galore
In my classes I use the imagination-based concept of going on an odyssey together…traveling the world of writing. “We’re in for an adventure,” I announce, “including a visit to the wonderful world of words!”
Imagination-based, the “wonderful world of words” appears as quickly and easily as posting key words (capitalized) on a board around an open heart that represents the FOCUS of a piece of writing. “We need DESCRIPTIVE words, including words that show COLOR,” I suggest, asking students to call out example words. “Then we need EXPRESSIVE words that show feeling and SOUND words that bring writing to life,” I continue. “We’ve got to have ACTION words that suit the subject of the writing, as well,” I add, asking if the word touchdown would belong in a story about basketball.” “Imagine that!” I laugh with the class. “That’s crazy,” they call back, totally focused on the imaginary “wonderful world of words.”
Kids get excited as the “wonderful world of words” appears one piece at a time, because I invite them to imagine this information not just as a list of important elements in writing…no…this word picture allows students to actually visualize themselves exploring a special place that will help them with school assignments.
IMAGINATION translates into OPPORTUNITY!
Adaptable Across Your Curriculum and for Classroom Management
You can adapt these imagination-based activities to any area of your curriculum to meet lesson objectives and classroom management objectives.
Teaching multiplication tables, for example, invite students in grade 3 to take an imaginary hike up Math Mountain with you. Tell the class that they’ll reach the peak when they master all of their multiplication tables. Add that a surprise awaits them at the top of Math Mountain. They’ll visualize the mountain and imagine the surprise.
Teaching science, for example in grades 4-5, ask students to imagine themselves discovering a cure for a disease that affects populations of people or animals worldwide? What would that look like? What steps would they need to take, beginning now, to make that imaginary picture a reality?
Meeting your classroom management needs might include, for example, dealing with students that frequently talk when you’ve asked for quiet. Put the power of imagination to work by surprising them with a homework assignment where they make a list of the benefits of being quiet. Ask for examples that relate to school work but also ones that have to do with recreational activities, like being quiet to hear bird songs.
NOTE: Listening to birds sing isn’t the first thing that comes to most kids’ minds about being outdoors – no doubt. I used it as an example because I’m convinced that the benefits of being quiet need to be modeled and instructed, not assumed. As distractions in our world increase, the need to know how to be quiet becomes all the more important; do you agree?
Speaking of getting quiet, I saw a video on The Teaching Channel of a teacher that uses a secret word to get her students’ attention. The students vote to select the secret word at the beginning of the school term.
Secret words can play on imagination, too. Ask kids what they imagine in TREASURE COVE – cool secret words for school. Please send comments about how you’ve used imagination in teaching.
Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting!
Stop by on Wednesday for a Mid-Week Focus on AG-E #14 – Puppetry & Personification.
Talk with you soon,
Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet