All Aboard Attentioneers!

Use young children’s interest in becoming railroad engineers to help them become attentioneers.

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

Whether you are on summer break, working a summer job, or at the beginning of a new semester in school, imagine yourself as an engineer in your teaching position…

You are directing the course of events for your class or group of children in any instructional setting.

All aboard to become an attentioneer! Young children love the concept of jumping on board a train driven by a railroad engineer.

Use this interest to help them become attentioneers.

Attentioneers, prepare for a flyby of the International Space Station! Older students can relate to project engineers, like the scientists who guide space missions.

Set up a mission control “station” in your setting and assign kids to the role of attentioneers.

Add a dose of reality to this activity, if you can, by taking your group on a virtual spaceflight.

Invite kids to a Reach for the Stars and Moon Poetry Party to blast off with writing.

Space is an awesome place! Space engineers are also attentioneers.

When you invite kids to become attentioneers, impress upon them the connection between attentioneers and engineers who steer a train safely to a destination or oversee a space mission.

The connection?

Successful engineers are also attentioneers.

What’s an attentioneer?

Answer: someone who has and uses the ability to stay focused and on task.

Research supports this…

when someone of any age limits her/his distraction-laced information intake, multitasking and rush rush, the areas of the brain associated with decision-making and goal achievement are strengthened.

How do you help kids become attentioneers?

Consider sharing these steps in age-appropriate ways with your group…

  1. Make a note – This may be obvious, but when you’re online and you either think of something you need to do or get drawn to an article or ad or YouTube video that is not related to your purpose for being online, take this simple step: Make a note and get back to it later.
  2. Use your brain muscles – No question, the part of the brain needed for focusing has to be toned to be fit. Research suggests that too much multitasking keeps us from exercising the brain muscles that allow us to focus. Remedies: Reading and meditation to relieve stress and maintain ourselves as attentioneers.
  3. Unplug altogether – Literally and figuratively, it’s healthy to let your computer “go down” by taking a physical exercise break from online activities. Option: Encourage more outdoor play.
  4. Become a culture critic – Ask yourself (and then ask your class) if you/they really believe that your focus is on what’s important when you are online or using other media.

Model being an attentioneer yourself.

Rhyme Time Shout-Out is a great lead into Luscious Literature Day!

Pay attention to yourself as you evaluate how you can model the conduct of an attentioneer. Eye contact is key to focusing.

Pay some attention to your face and manner.

Ask if you practice attention skills to the max.

Research, especially from the mid-1990s on, indicates a growing number of adults who complain of feeling overstretched, overbooked, overloaded and frequently distracted.

The connection between these sensations and the proliferation of technology is evident, but for all of us who rely on technology, there’s no turning back.

We may become models of distraction instead of becoming models of attentioneers if we don’t find ways to limit our reliance on technology and multitasking.

When you model being an attentioneer, you set the stage for learning.

The skills you help them develop as attentioneers will serve them well throughout their lives.

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

Please send comments about how you help students develop strong attention skills.

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.
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