Help Distracted Kids Have a Heart for Paying Attention!

Hearts posted ono a bulletin board, ready to flip to reveal messages about the importance of paying attention.

Hearts posted on a bulletin board, ready to flip to reveal messages about the importance of paying attention.

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

Do you have students who are easily distracted? In a world of sensory bombardment, wise teachers find ways to incorporate actual instruction about the importance of being able to pay attention into classroom activities.

Help kids have a BIGGER heart for paying attention by creating a bulletin board with that focus as the header.

Have a Heart for Paying Attention Bulletin Board Assemble a bulletin board full of a collection of hearts with messages about the science and art of being attentive. Have a Heart for Paying Attention is…

…a perfect bulletin board for Valentine’s Day, coming soon…

Leave the bulletin board up past Valentine’s Day to send a message to students that having a heart for staying focused and on task shouldn’t be limited to February 14. Good attention skills are a plus every day!

Your Have a Heart for Paying Attention Bulletin Board may include a variety of designs. Keep reading for ideas…

Hearts to Flip – Ask students to choose pre-cut decorative paper or cardstock hearts or invite them to cut out their own hearts from available paper.

Offer scrap wrapping paper with Valentine’s Day designs or colored construction paper that students can cut into heart shapes and decorate with crayons or markers.

K – 1 students can write their names on the backs of the hearts. Post the hearts on your Have a Heart for Paying Attention Bulletin Board with double-sided tape at the tops of the hearts. Invite kids to play a Hearts to Flip Game.

How to Play: Let student volunteers take turns flipping the hearts and saying the names on the backs. At the reading of each name, lead the class saying, “______________ (name of student) and everyone in our class is learning that it’s important to be able to pay attention.

In grades 2 – 5 instruct students to flip their decorative hearts and write messages on the backs of the heart shapes. The messages: personal promises to pay attention in school.

Involving students in the art of making hearts will help engage them in the bulletin board’s main message: Paying Attention is Important!

Turn owls in "attention mascots" by posting them on a bulletin board with a header, "Please Give a HOOT About Paying Attention!"

Turn owls into “attention mascots” by posting them on a bulletin board with a header, “Please Give a HOOT About Paying Attention!”

Cut outs from Valentine gift bags make great additions to heart-themed bulletin boards!

Cut outs from Valentine gift bags make great additions to heart-themed bulletin boards!

Please Give a HOOT About Paying Attention – Owls hugging hearts make an eye-catching bulletin board design.

Look for owl designs to cut from Valentine gift bags. Dollar store gift bags are inexpensive quick sources of colorful additions to bulletin boards.

Post a big bright header on the bulletin board that reads Please Give a HOOT About Paying Attention!

Add pre-cut owls and hearts to a colored paper background on the board.

Ask students to make hearts from cut out heart doilies or construction paper.

Post students’ hearts around the owls.

Explain to the class that their hearts will show that they too “give a hoot for paying attention.”

Make a connection between owls being notoriously “wise” and the wisdom of learning at a young age how to stay focused when distractions abound.

Stand near your Have a Heart for Paying Attention Bulletin Board and lead a class discussion about WHY it’s important to be able to maintain focus.

Challenge students to think about HOW they can do better at paying attention.

Ask students in grades 3 – 5 to think about the BENEFITS of paying attention. Use their ideas for another heartwarming bulletin board design..

Ask students to finish the statement "When I pay attention..."

Ask students to finish the statement “When I pay attention…”

Statements from the Heart – Add a large white heart-shaped piece of paper to your Have a Heart for Paying Attention Bulletin Board.

After you lead a class discussion about the benefits of paying attention, walk to the board and with a dark marker, write on the heart, When I pay attention…

Tell the class that you want everyone to write that beginning statement AND a finish to it with a personal thought. For example, a student might write, “When I pay attention I don’t miss details.”

Give students white hearts or white paper on which they can draw large hearts for their writing.

Teach young children the meaning of the word attention by letting them "color themselves attention lovers."

Teach young children the meaning of the word attention by letting them “color themselves attention lovers.”

Post students’ statement hearts on the Have a Heart for Paying Attention Bulletin Board.

Color Me an Attention Lover – Teach children in grades K – 1 the meaning of the word attention. In the process, explain the importance of paying attention in school.

Offer details about how paying attention means staying focused to finish a task like putting all of the pieces in place to finish a puzzle and see the whole picture.

Help young children make an age-appropriate commitment to paying attention by giving them hearts decorated with a picture of crayons and the words, “Color Me an Attention Lover.” 

Make enough copies of the Color Me an Attention Lover heart so that each student can have one to post with a picture of themselves on the Have a Heart for Paying Attention Bulletin Board.

Tell the class that as their teacher, you really like “picturing them paying attention in school!”

Challenge kids to write their own pictographs with words to express the importance of paying attention.

Challenge kids to write their own pictographs with words to express the importance of paying attention.

Pick a Pictograph – Kids love writing words as pictographs.

Give students heart cut-outs or paper on which they can draw and cut out large hearts.

Ask them to use a combination of words and pictographs to write a statement about the importance of paying attention.

Tell the class that you plan to post their personalized pictograph hearts on your Have a Heart for Paying Attention Bulletin Board.

Eye-catching bulletin boards not only attract attention, they can serve as valuable teaching tools.

These Have a Heart for Paying Attention designs invite student participation in the learning process. The goal: Make sure that no one – no student, no teacher – takes the ability to pay attention for granted.

This is a timely challenge because sustaining students’ concentration seems to become more difficult with each passing year.

Make this Valentine’s Day a day to encourage students to “buy in” to the importance of being able to maintain attention for more than a minute here, a minute there, amid all kinds of distractions .

Having a heart for paying attention is as important as any skill for academic success in the 21st century.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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
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