Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!
There’s an old song in the English language that ends with the lyrics…“Pop goes the weasel!”
The origin of this little nursery rhyme has a connection to “jack-in-the-box toys” that suddenly pop up to the delight of young children.
What’s the connection to attentionology?
Simply said…the element of surprise!
Think about it…
Kids come to your classroom day in and day out, usually following a school routine. Yes, routines provide structure and set the stage for learning, but they can wear thin over time.
Enter the elements of surprise and delight…
as in presenting a brightly colored pop-up book that immediately engages students.
Pop Goes the Book! – If you can, find a pop-up book with giant illustrations to present, like one that I bought at a dollar store for the bargain price of $1.00 (US).
Read the story to the class with a bit of theatrical flair.
Kids will oooh and aaah…and pay attention.
Pop Goes the Book as a Puppet Stage – Puppets are instant attention-grabbers, but hand puppets are most effective as teaching tools when you hold them behind a little stage.
Stage a puppet behind a book to make the book pop.
The puppet will help you draw attention to the book.
For example, students who struggle with learning a language may feel reassured that they are not alone when you hold a hand puppet behind a language book and make the puppet come to life.
“Little Bear,” you might say, “it’s hard to learn some words in Spanish, isn’t it.”
Involve the class by asking them to help “Little Bear” read the Spanish book.
Pop Goes the GIANT Book – Sometimes biggest is best.
Kids will be all eyes on you and the characters that you read about when your story book is gigantic.
Look for large books to engage young readers.
Craft Books that Pop – Consider crafting your own large books, complete with a handle for transporting the book.
Plan time for children to create their own large books.
Use craft paper cut into shapes that can be stapled together along one edge to assemble.
After students write their story drafts on notebook paper, instruct them to copy the finished stories onto craft paper pages.
Ask the kids to add illustrations to their stories and staple the finished books.
Can pop-up books work for upper elementary level kids?
Pop Goes the Book for Students in Grades 3 – 5 – I say that pop-books can be effective teaching tools in grades 3 – 5, but only when you present pop-up books that pop with some sophistication in their construction and writing.
Check out Robert Sabuda‘s website.
You may have heard of this world-famous engineer turned children’s book designer/author.
Showing how Sabuda has written, illustrated and engineered his books is a great way to introduce engineering to third, fourth and fifth graders.
Invite students in grades 3 – 5 to make their own pop-up books. Sabuda’s website offers valuable how-to instructions.
Pop Goes the Book with a Helping Hand – Here’s another idea for grades 3 – 5…
Coordinate with the K – 2 teachers in your school and challenge your upper level students to make pop-up books they can read to help younger students learn basic skills.
One student, for example, could design a counting pop-up book. Page 1 would have a pop-up of the numeral 1…and so on – fun and functional!
Some upper elementary students may even aspire to make pop-up pictures that rival Robert Sabuda.
It’s unlikely that you’ll find Sabuda’s amazing books at a dollar store, but we frugal teachers will keep checking anyway.
In the process, who knows what other tools we’ll find on the cheap that we can use with teaching tricks that are worth their weight in gold.
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