Set Up Attention-Getting Boxes – A Bright Idea!

Take One - Leave One. Set up a Bright Idea Box in your classroom for you and students to share.

Take One – Leave One. Set up a Bright Idea Box in your classroom for you and your students to share.

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

An attention-getting idea popped into my mind the other day when I stopped for coffee at a neighborhood restaurant.

In one corner stood an attractive bookshelf loaded with paperbacks and a few hardbound books.

On the bottom shelf…an inviting sign…


I borrowed forward…selecting a new thriller to occupy some evening hours.

At the same time, I made a note to drop back by with a paperback that I’ve read and am ready to give away.

TAKE ONE – LEAVE ONE, I thought…

what a great concept for exchanging BRIGHT IDEAS!

How to do this in a classroom?

Set up an Attention-Getting Bright Idea Box – Initiate use of the Bright Idea Box by dropping in some cards, each with a “bright idea.”

Make a Mission Possible Extra Credit Assignment Box or Grab Bag.

Set up an Attention-Getting (Subject) Fun Zone Box full of answers to Q’s posted on a bulletin board.

Ideas can be about anything…

Begin, maybe, with ideas about how students can pay closer attention and stay on task in class…if that’s a concern this school year.

Drop in bright ideas about how to hold attention where it needs to be.

Attentionology ideas may include keeping eyes focused on a speaker/teacher or graphic under discussion, and so on…

Set Up an Attention-Getting (Subject) Fun Zone Box – Choose a subject, like math, and post questions about the subject on a bulletin board with a corresponding header.

Focus on math, for example? Print a header that reads Math Fun Zone.

Place the Fun Zone Box near the bulletin board.

Leave blank cards or paper scraps for students to use with the Fun Zone Box.

Below the header print instructions to the class:

1) Choose a math/subject problem to solve.

2) Write the problem and your answer on a card or scrap of paper.

3) Open the Fun Zone Box and look for a card that matches the problem you chose to solve.

4) See if your answer is correct. Yes? Give yourself a round of applause!

Optional: Use the Fun Zone Box for activities that draw extra credit for students. Honesty rules…a lesson in character education

Invite students to drop correct answers to posted questions on your desk, signed, and awaiting extra credit.

How else can you set up attention-getting boxes to help kids in school?

Set Out a Worry Collection Box – Kids need a way to drop their worries at the door when they come to class. This so that they can be ready to focus on learning.

Invite students to drop a note expressing their current worries into the Worry Collection Box that you’ve set out near the door.

Set up a Surprise Box full of little, inexpensive rewards for children's good work.

Set up a Surprise Box full of little, inexpensive rewards for children’s good work.

Set a box on a table with slips of blank paper and pencils next to it.

Encourage kids to jot down their current worries in a few words and drop the slip in the box for your later reading.

Promise that they may write anonymously if they choose to and that any signed slips will be read only by you and privately responded to by you.

It’s a little extra work, but the rewards should show in students’ better attention spans.

Set Up an Attention-Getting Surprise Box – Speaking of rewards, set up an attention-getting Surprise Box full of little, inexpensive rewards for children’s good work to catch more attention.

Switch the focus up from academic work to good conduct, if you like, or let the surprise box encompass both throughout the school year.

Make your Surprise Box decorative and set it up in a “place of honor” so that students feel extra special when they get to open the box and select a surprise.

It’s amazing to me how the simplest tools and tricks can catch and keep K – 5 kids attention, but they do!

Children are fascinated with boxes for a simple reason…the inner contents are a surprise until the box is opened or dug into!

For teachers, boxes and other containers that are open or closed offer unlimited possibilities.

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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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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