Use Crazy Names to Catch Attention

"Harry" is wearing his rainbow tie for Wacky Wednesday.

“Crazy Harry,” a gorilla, is wearing his rainbow tie for Wacky Wednesday.

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

What’s in a name? When they’re crazy, names have the power to wow children.

Call days of the week by crazy names at the start of class or camp to tickle kids’ ears and catch their attention as you lead into activities.

Try these crazy names and related activities:

Mad for More Monday – Introduce this crazy name of the day, noting that “mad for more” means you’ll be looking for more of everything good that Monday.

What’s good? More courtesy in class, more pleases and thank yous when you ask and offer.

More correct answers to pop quiz questions.

More kids volunteering to be someone’s swimming buddy at the camp’s lake.

More kids pitching in to help clean up at the end of the day.

Tasty Tuesdaze – Children get a kick out of intentionally misspelled words.

Surprise your group on Tuesday with a sign on your door or camp post that reads “Welcome to Tasty Tuesdaze!”

Of course the kids will immediately think that your greeting means something to eat is coming soon.

Advise them that Tasty Tuesdaze will indeed include something tasty, but first you’ll feature developing a taste for new skills…

…like learning words in unfamiliar languages to expand children’s global awareness.

Unfamiliar words sound crazy to children sometimes, until they master the new vocabulary.

Point to Mexico on a map, for example, and explain that when children there want ice cream, they ask for helado.

In Germany, kids crave Eis. French children, crème glacée; Turkish youngsters, dondurma.

In parts of Africa’s central east coast, kids who speak Swahili ask for ice cream, just like children in English-speaking nations.

Kids will be motivated to engage in activities that develop tastes for new skills when they know that a yummy treat – like chocolate chip cookies – will arrive before the end of the day. Save time for cookie crunching or other munching to deliver the promise of the crazy name…Tasty Tuesdaze.

Wacky Wednesday – Wrap a wild tie around a large stuffed animal’s neck. Name the animal “Crazy Harry” or some other funny, suitable name.

Gather your group together to meet a crazy stuffed animal “guest” for Wacky Wednesday. Pull the toy out of a large bag to add the element of surprise.

Tell the kids that “Harry” (name you choose) is looking for a new wacky name. Engage the group by saying that he’s tired of being called “Crazy Harry” and would like their help in choosing another crazy name.

Kids will quickly join in the fun. Invite children to take turns offering wacky names for the animal.

Do some online research ahead of introducing “Crazy Harry” to connect Wacky Wednesday to your science curriculum. Find easily accessible sources of information about your animal “guest,” including some wacky facts. For example, a male gorilla called a “silverback” stands on his hind legs and beats his chest to ward off predators.

After kids take turns renaming the stuffed animal take a virtual tour of the animal’s habitat and/or lead a discussion about the animal’s wacky behaviors.

And the week goes on. What crazy attention-getting name suits Thursday?

How about…

Thruway Travel Thursday – Start the day with a call for a show of hands for anyone who has ever traveled a long road, like a thruway.

Make copies of a sheet that invites students to write in what they are "loony for, loony to do."

Make copies of a sheet that invites students to write in what they are “loony for, loony to do.”

Tell your group that you’ll all jump on a giant (imaginary) truck and travel a (imaginary) thruway.

This activity is recommended for grades 3 – 5 to spark critical thinking. The opportunity to travel a long thruway begs many questions…

Where would I like to go?  What road should I choose?

What would I need for a long trip? Who would I like to travel with? What would we do together?

Share my short poem below with your class or campers. The poem paints a word picture about traveling through life.

 Where you go and what you do

matter for life and the right to boast,

but remember this my special friend,

it’s who you’re with that matters most!

Funny Friday – Using crazy names to catch attention is a super way to start a rainy day. No sun? No problem.

Announce to your group that you’ll make sunshine indoors on Funny Friday (or any other day with a crazy name) by playing with crazy names for every activity of the day.

Long faces in front of you? Tell a joke that you’ve found ahead of Funny Friday to make kids laugh.

Need to form a line to head to a special program? Call it the “Love Line.” Add that you love it when kids follow directions!

Ready for lunch. Offer a joke to “the lunch bunch.”

Working with a new group of kids that includes newcomers to school or camp? Set up “Chatter Groups.” Instruct small clusters of children to ask each other questions about each other to get acquainted. Call kids “chatter boxes.”

For classroom teachers, Sweet Sweet Saturday follows Funny Friday. Weekends keep educators and counselors from going crazy!

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

Please send comments about how you use crazy names to catch kids’ attention.

Talk with you again soon,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet







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Posted in Attentionology for K-5 Teachers
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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