Look at This!

Catch kids' attention with a mask that you assert holds magical powers for you to see.

Catch kids’ attention with a mask that you assert holds magical powers for you to see.

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

Here’s an engaging command to catch K – 3 kids’ attention…

“Look at this!”

All eyes will follow your lead, not just because of your command, but because of the curiosity and excitement that it will generate.

“Look at what?” Kids will wonder.

In response, hold a mask to your face and tell the class, “Look at the magical powers I’ve mastered, powers I want to share with you!”

Masks Offer “Magical Powers” to See – Colorful masks attract attention in a heartbeat. A mask visually invites students to look at this!

Why? Mystery lies behind a mask. What’s there; who’s there? Why has my teacher masked her face? What can she now see?

Surprise students by donning a mask and using “magical powers” to hook kids into lessons.

For example, tell the class to look at this…the mask’s “magical powers.” Announce that the mask lets you see the basic problem-solving process at the center of the Core Curriculum:

  • Ask
  • Imagine
  • Plan
  • Create
  • Improve

Connecting steps to the mastery of skills by using a visual symbol, like a magical mask, helps children remember the steps.

Let young students take turns wearing the mask to gain “magical learning power.”

Usually associated with special occasions like Mardi Gras or Halloween, masks make marvelous attention-getting tools any time of the school year.

What other ways can you ask your class to look at this?

I Spy a Good Listener – This instructional activity focuses on sight, but the Magnifying glass attention-getting aspect of this trick is all about the ACT of looking to find students who are paying attention to you, the teacher.

Use a large magnifying glass on a long handle to “ACT-centuate” your “spying.” (Many “dollar stores,” at least in the U.S., sell inexpensive plastic magnifying glasses designed for children.)

Hold up the magnifying glass for all to see.

Using your best “detective voice” announce, “Boys and girls, I’m looking to spy a good listener.”

Move around the classroom as you look into the magnifier and lean toward students who readily respond to you in a positive way.

Praise students who are showing excellent listening skills.

Test students’ listening skills by asking them to repeat a short rhyme:

Look at this!

My class has ears /eyes on me.

Is it magic?

Call it HOCUS-FOCUS, what I like to see!

Language Arts Connection – Turn this trick into a language arts activity by inviting kids to make up other short rhymes that begin with the line, Look at this!

Let your class know that there will be other opportunities to “play” I Spy a Good Listener!

Catch and keep your students’ attention on other days just before you begin a lesson by holding up your magnifying glass.

Ask who remembers what you’re trying to spy. “Good listeners,” students will reply.

The magnifying glass can become another visual symbol of a specific skill.

Science Connection- Use this teaching trick as an early years science lesson. Explain that early magnifying glasses led to modern-day microscopes.

Visual symbols, like masks and magnifying glasses, that dramatically invite students to look at this reach out to kids who are audio and tactile learners, as well as students with visual acuity.

Consider the old Chinese proverb that roughly translates in English to, “We hear and we forget; we see and we remember; we do and we understand.”

Do you agree that this proverb has merit for teaching?

If we consider that DOING almost always includes hearing and seeing, eye-catching visuals and ear-catching voices will help kids DO well.

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: Young students are getting noisy while you’re trying to teach.

Solution: Hold up "Listen Star," a toy magic wand that you’ve designated to be a cue for quiet. Tell the class, "When you see our friend, 'Listen Star' dance across the classroom sky, that’s your signal to HUSH for a moment."

Related Posts: Let "Listen Star" Work Magic for You