For the Love of Simple…Simple Tricks Start a Super School Day!

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Start a school day with something simple…”Look at our Make a Wish balloon, class.” “I wish, I wish, I wish for this________________ in the day ahead.

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

Simple can be beautiful, don’t you think.

Q for all of us…Is simple out-of-place in our hyper-connected, information-overloaded world today?

Not in a teacher’s world, no, I don’t think so! In any instructional setting, simple holds promise.


Because what is simple is a relief. What is simple is easy to manage, not too time-consuming or overly demanding. What is simple can offer big rewards.

Try new simple tricks to start a super school day.

Make a Wish – Welcome students to class by gathering them in an attention-getting circle to make wishes for the day ahead.

Hold up a balloon or sign (simply made from poster board and a tongue depressor that serves as a stick to which you tape the sign to hold it up) that is decorated with the phrase, “Make a Wish!”

Balloon or sign in your hand, repeat these words…“I wish, I wish, I wish for this____________________________________.”

Say what you wish for that day. For example, you might say, “I wish that all of you will stay focused and on task in class during lessons and work time today.”

Motivate your class by adding, “Please make my wish come true.”

Pass the Make a Wish Balloon or Sign – After you’ve introduced the “Make A Wish” balloon or sign and shared your wish for the day, pass the wishing object from student to student in your class circle and invite kids who volunteer to do so to say what they’re wishing for in the day ahead.

Don’t correct anyone; let children be free to express what they think and feel. If classmates “snicker” at anyone’s wish, remind the class that wishes are personal. No criticism allowed, unless a child threatens someone.

Give some structure to this activity by instructing students to say their wishes aloud by beginning with the repeated words, “I wish, I wish, I wish for this______________________.”

Jump-start Each School Day with a Famous Quote – Where to start? Famous quotes from scholars, superstars, inventors, politicians, and “the infamous” are accessible from around the world.

Introducing your class to a famous quote that is age-appropriate for them, however, is a simple and effective trick to start a super school day.

To make the most of a famous quote, advise the class that what you’re about to quote isn’t just a set of words…no…

explain that quotes are “pauses for thought.”

Use the ones below; go online to find quotes that suit your students; or research other sources in your community to choose quotes as simple tricks to start a super school day.

Be prepared to explain the quote and lead a quick discussion on its meaning when you share it. Select quotes that ring true worldwide, especially for K – 5 kids and teachers…

Word Power at Work – Start a super school day inspiring and motivating students (and yourself) with powerful, thought-provoking quotes, including…

Help kids put word power to work to improve their communication skills.

Word Power at work…sharing famous quotes from around the world is a simple trick to start a super school day.

“Nothing will work unless you do.” – Maya Angelou, American Poet

“Correction does much, but encouragement does more.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German Writer

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu, Chinese Philosopher

“If you don’t like someone’s story, write your own.” – Chinua Achebe, African Writer and Educator

“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” – Mahatma Gandhi, Indian Leader

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Tolstoy, Russian Writer

“There is definitely light at the end of the tunnel. And we are here for the long haul.” – Hoda Elsadda, Global Fund for Women Board Member, Egypt

Help Kids Shake Worries Away at the Start of a School Day – Teachers around the world know that when children show up at school on any given day, some come carrying difficult, sometimes overwhelming burdens…


…abuse at home

…lack of adequate sleep and healthcare

…disengaged caregivers who lack important skills or interest in supporting educational efforts…

The list is long and daunting, even for the most dedicated of teachers.

Still, no matter the mood or manner in which kids arrive in class, a teacher’s job is to engage and educate in the best way possible.

"Class, let's shake out clutter and clear our minds for learning today!"

“Class, let’s shake away our worries as we start a super school day!”

Shake Your Worries Away is a simple, active trick that gets kids laughing to be ready to learn.

Here’s how this trick works…

After you take attendance, announce that you want to start the school day worry-free.

Ask students to stand where they are and shake their hands along with you.

“What are we shaking away?” you ask.

Instruct your class to reply, “We’re shaking away our worries, you see. Here in school we will be worry-free, free to learn, free  to dream, free for you to be you and me to be me!” 

Kids love this activity!

The dramatic gesture of shaking away worries is so simple, but it’s a tried and true trick to start a super school day.

If we as teachers think of our classrooms as “domains within a greater community,” we can make learning magic for children who arrive at our doors from different backgrounds and learning styles.

When a child enters our “domain,” we can award them all with super status and engage them with simple tricks to start a super school day.

Every child deserves the best.

As Albert Einstein, the German-born physicist said, ” Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

Think about that, and please send comments about simple tricks you use to start your school 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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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.
Quick tips for common classroom conundrums: K-5
Situation: Students continue to use lackluster verbs in their writing.

Solution: Show toy cars and pretend to make them zip across a page, telling the class that good writing includes action words (verbs) that have "zip." Ask the class for examples of "zippy" verbs like zoom, race, flash, rush, etc.

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