Guess What’s Missing

Ask your class to guess what's missing on this face...eyes in place, nose centered well. They'll guess right...a smile is missing on this face!

Ask your class to guess what’s missing on this face…eyes in place, nose centered well. They’ll guess right…a smile is missing on this face!

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

Kids love guessing games.

Play a quick guessing game in your class by popping up a picture of a face with no smile.

Before you ask students to guess the obvious – what’s missing on the face – challenge them to guess what day your class missed this month. (I’m guessing that you missed it, as did I. There’s always next year!)

Answer: World Smile Day, last Friday, October 7.

Looking again at the face, very young children might mistake the nose on the face for a smile.

No mistake, a smile is missing from this face.

Seems that right about now, smiles are missing from a lot of faces around the world. We could use more smiles.

A smile is a frown turned upside down.

Let’s talk about smiles and frowns. Thin about this…A smile is a frown turned upside down. Do you agree with me? We need more smiles around the world!

Here’s an attentionology trick that’s tailor-made for troublesome times. It delivers a smile made from a frown.

The trick uses a tool that is nothing more than a poem and a piece of bright pink paper.

On one side of the paper in dark black marker is a half circle that forms a smile when the paper is held upright to show it.

On the other paper side in dark black marker is a half circle turned “upside down” to form a frown.

When students seem a bit downhearted, share this trick to focus attention on the bright side of life.

Before reading my poem, An Upside Down Smile, (see below) aloud, invite students to listen to how the poem expresses the happiness we can all feel inside.

Hold the poem page out to one side with a hand. Hold the bright pink page with the drawn smile and frown in the other hand so that you can easily flip the page.

Begin by reading the title…AN UPSIDE DOWN SMILE…and read on…

A frown is a smile turned in the wrong direction!

A frown is a smile turned in the wrong direction!

Think about this…

A smile is a frown

turned upside down;

if you don’t believe me,

try it on paper!

Make a curved line

to look like a smile, (gesture to the smile side of the pink page)

then turn the paper

upside down (flip the pink page to show the frown side)

and, sure enough,

you’ll see a frown.

Now, if a smile is a frown

turned upside down,

like a cake whose top

was on the bottom

when it baked,

then we can flip a frown

like we flip a cake,

and turn the  frown

upside down (flip the pink paper back to the smile side)

to make a smile

that needs no frosting.

Smiles, after all,

are delicious just as they are!

Children in early grades love the animation of flipping the smiling and frowning sides of the pink paper and the rhythmic beat of the poem.

Kids in intermediate classes respond to the puzzle-like challenge of the poetic writing, the “think about this” aspect of “An Upside Down Smile.”

Ask older students if they’ve ever noticed that a frown is an upside down smile and vice versa.

As always, much of the success in implementing this and any trick to catch and keep K – 5 students’ attention is dependent on the teacher’s delivery of it.

Deliver what’s missing from too many lives in the world today by presenting this smile poem with confidence and the care you feel for your class.

You’ll find yourself smiling, too.

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

Please send comments about tools and tricks that you use to restore smiles to children’s faces.

Talk with you again soon,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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  1. […] de-fog their brains and start the day in a brain boosting way by challenging older students to guess a word (in English) that has more meanings than any other two-letter […]

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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.

Related Posts: Start Students' Engines for Writing