Surprise Visuals & Manipulatives Catch Kids’ Attention

Surprise your class with a poster on the door that reinforces the importance of staying focused doing school work.

Surprise your class with a poster on the door that reinforces the importance of staying focused doing school work.

Hats off to teachers…it’s time for Mid-Week Focus to feature quick and easy attention-catching visuals

…colorful posters and cut-outs to tack up on a door or wall.

…manipulatives to set out before the school day starts.

NEWS POSTERS – If you work with students in grades 3 – 5, print a “news headline” in LARGE TYPE on a sheet of paper and tape it with colored paper to the front of your classroom door.

Post this notice that sets the tone for a productive school day – Headline News…Students stay focused and on task in class! – before your students get to school.

Surprise your class by posting this notice on random days. Kids will start to be on the lookout for it.

Print different headlines that send strong visual messages:

Headline News…Ms. ___________’s (your name) Class Cited for Excellence in Learning!

Headline News…Students Review Classroom Mission Statement to Improve School Work

Headline News posters can do more than motivate students at the start of school.

Use news flashes, like – Students Review Classroom Mission Statement to Improve School Work –  to announce plans for the day. When you review the day’s schedule, point to the door and ask if anyone noticed the Headline News piece coming into class.

1) Applaud students who used good observation skills noticing the headline.

2) Announce that “today’s schedule includes taking a few minutes to review our classroom mission.”

Mini-news posters take just minutes to make, but have lasting power to prompt students to focus on focusing attention in school.

Look at more visuals to tack up on a door or wall…

CUT-OUTSAnimal cut-outs are inexpensive and available from multiple sources…online, in “dollar stores,” at teacher supply stores and elsewhere. As a rule, kids love animals!

Animal Cut-outs greet young children at their classroom door.

Animal cut-outs greet young children at their classroom door.

Tape animal cut-outs to your K – 2 classroom door one morning before students enter. See if anyone mentions them before you take attendance.

Ask how many class members you have; call on a student whose hand is raised. If her/his answer is correct, commend the student.

Then announce that some new members have joined the class for the day…the animals on your door! Open the door for all to see. Invite the class to:

1) Count the animals.

2) Name them.

3) Say the color of each animal.

Incorporate cut-outs into your lesson plans for the day.

For example, you could:

1) distribute one animal cut-out to each student (cut-outs usually come in packs so that you can buy enough for your whole class).

2) Depending on your grade level, challenge students to write a story or poem about their animals.

3) Ask for volunteers to read their writing aloud and hold their animal cut-outs up for everyone to see.

4) Invite students to use additional art supplies to make a setting, like the jungle, for their animal cut-outs.

Using visuals, like cut-outs, is an easy way to integrate the arts into your core curriculum, planning activities that are appropriate to your grade level and culture.

Posters, small and large, are easy to tack up on a door or wall to catch kids’ attention.

Small, inexpensive, plastic star ornaments make eye-catching rewards for "star students."

Small, inexpensive, plastic star ornaments make eye-catching rewards for “star students.”

MANIPULATIVES – It’s just as easy to set out eye-catching manipulatives that 1) delight children and 2) connect with your classroom management goals and lesson plans.

For example, small, inexpensive plastic star ornaments can be used for more than holiday decorations (if your holiday traditions include stars). Buy extra and save the stars to use as attention-getters in school.

You have options. You can:

1) surprise your class one morning by placing a star on each student’s desk before school starts.

2) tell the kids that the star is a reminder “to shine in school today by staying focused and getting good work done.”

3) announce that you have a surprise for superstar students just before dismissal. Lead a brief discussion on what it means to be a “superstar student.” Distribute the plastic stars at the end of the day.

4) place the stars in a box – preferably one decorated with stars – and, as a reward, invite a deserving student to open the box as a surprise at an appropriate time. Distribute the stars.

When you distribute little gifts for children’s hands to hold, you spread your care for them, and you motivate them to reach academic goals.

Stop by on Monday for Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers.

Talk with you soon,

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
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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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