Worry Got Ya Down? Meet Dennis B and Other Helpful Attention-Getting Tools

When worries have students down, introduce them to Dennis B.

When worries have students down, introduce them to Dennis B.

Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!

Worry got ya down?

There’s a question on a lot of minds, one that relates to children as well as adults.

Ask your class one morning when the day is just getting underway if worry has a hold on anyone’s heart and watch the hands fly.

You have their attention; now the key question is what can you do to help ease the distress?

Introduce students to Dennis B,  a frowning face at first –

Tell the class that Dennis B is trying his best to turn his frowning face around, to try to be worry-free.

Ask for ideas on how to help Dennis B become worry-free.

Share my poem about Dennis B, Worry-Free, with your class.

Worry-Free

Dennis B vowed that he would live his life worry-free.

Ask kids to suggest ways to help themselves and others stay worry-free.

Ask kids to suggest ways to help themselves and others stay worry-free.

When problems tested his resolve, Dennis B said problems can be solved.

“Look,” Dennis said with poise, “let’s find solutions, not make noise.”

“Gnashing teeth ’til jaws are sore will only make us worry more!”

“Simply put,” said Dennis B, “I feel much better worry-free.”

At the conclusion of the poem, flip Dennis B’s frowning face around to reveal him with big smile.

Large frowning and smiley faces are easy to access online or in teacher supply stores.

After you introduce Dennis B, post him with a name tag on a classroom bulletin board or wall.

Post blank sticky notes all around the new class character.

Invite students to use the replaceable notes to offer Dennis B more ideas on how to stay worry-free.

Help kids focus on staying positive with another attention-getting tool…

"Let's see about writing down a worry you have on this card and washing it away on the Worry Wash Line."

“Let’s see about writing down a worry you have on this card and washing it away on the Worry Wash Line.”

Hang up a Worry Wash Line – Help kids learn strategies for managing worries.

Children will enjoy washing away worries with a clever classroom clothes line.

Stretch a cord above a section of your classroom and clip clothes pins with blank note cards to the line.

Tell your students when you first hang the line that you’ve added a Worry Wash Line to your room.

Announce that it’s open for anyone to pull off a card, jot down a worry, write one’s name or not, and clip it back on the line to wash the worry away.

Spend some one-on-one time with students in need to help them write worries on a card to post on the Worry Wash Line. No name needed.

When students aren’t in the classroom with you, take the opportunity to zero in on students’ concerns by reading the notes they clip to the line.

Understanding the source of worries is the first step towards managing them.

Consider setting aside time to read the Worry Wash Line cards aloud (excluding names) as a class project. Discuss strategies for managing the specific concerns that the cards express.

Please share your own attention-getting ideas on how to help students deal with worry. Send a comment.

Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting!

Talk with you again 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
Situation: Students continue to use lackluster verbs in their writing.

Solution: Show toy cars and pretend to make them zip across a page, telling the class that good writing includes action words (verbs) that have "zip." Ask the class for examples of "zippy" verbs like zoom, race, flash, rush, etc.

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