PSSSSS…Let’s Get Ready to Listen and Learn! – School Day Starters

"PSSSSS...Let's get ready to listen and learn," says Mr. Snake.

“PSSSSS…Let’s get ready to listen and learn,” says Mr. Snake.

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

School Day Starters that quickly catch and keep kids’ attention are teachers’ gold. Try these games…

Don’t Make Mr. Snake Blue – This minute game – school day starter works like a charm in grades K – 2.

Tell the class that it’s time to play “Don’t Make Mr. Snake Blue.”

Hold up a snake mask (any color is fine; this mask is a dollar store find) and with a dramatic voice ask, “Who wants to be Mr. Snake at the start of school today?”

Ask the volunteer student you select to come forward and slip on the mask for all to see.

Instruct the volunteer to “act out” the moves that “Mr. Snake” makes as you read his poem aloud.

PSSSSS…Let’s Get Ready to Listen and Learn!

 Look everyone

It’s a slithery snake,

All coiled up,

What shape does he make?

Mr. Snake turns on a path,

Heading to school,

He listens to learn

He thinks school is cool!

Let’s listen to Mr. Snake,

PSSSSS, PSSSSS, PSSSSS is his voice.

Can you PSSSSS, PSSSSS, PSSSSS? (Encourage the class to join in making PSSSSS sounds)

Will you listen to learn when you have a choice?

Ask again, “Will you?” When the class calls out “YES,” tell them that you’re pleased that they won’t be making Mr. Snake “blue” by not paying attention. This extra question and statement reinforces the importance of staying on task in class.

Thank the volunteer student and ask the class to give her/him some applause.

PSSSSS…funny sounds surprise and engage students. So do countdowns and….

count-to games.

Count-to Four Game – Write an Action Plan for the Day – This minute game – school day starter gets kids in grades 3 – 5 in step with starting school on “the right foot.”

Numbered sticky notes serve as mini "To Do" lists to get students in step for the day ahead.

Numbered sticky notes serve as mini “To Do” lists to get students in step for the day ahead.

Before students come to class place a pre-numbered sticky note on each student’s desk or table space. (Sticky notes with pre-printed numbers serve as mini “To Do” lists. They’re usually available at office supply stores and sometimes at dollar stores.)

As the class enters, advise them to check their desks for something new and leave what they find in place when they see it.

When everyone is present, tell students that it’s smart to start a day with an action plan.

Explain that you’ve given each student a sticky note with four numbered spaces to fill in with four words that begin with the letter “L” to make a class action plan.

Hint that the four words relate to doing well in school.

Ask the class to guess what words you want them to write on their sticky notes and keep on their desks that day.

The words are:




#4 LOVE (as in love learning, love others by showing respect and care)

Repeat the four words for your class action plan.

Instruct students to write them in sequence on their sticky notes and leave the notes in a corner of their desk as reminders to stay focused when they’re working.

"PSSSSS...Listen to my poem and then whisper what color you are today."

“PSSSSS…Listen to my poem and then whisper what color you are today.”

PSSSSS – Whisper What Color You Are Today – This minute game – school day starter invites kids in all elementary grades to get in touch with their feelings. The game can also help you anticipate students’ behavior and adjust accordingly.

Get kids’ attention by making a PSSSSS sound, as if you have a secret to share.

Announce that it’s time to play Whisper, What Color You Are Today. Explain that you want students to listen carefully to a poem about colors. In grades 2 – 5, add that your poem is full of similes.

Instruct students to wait until the end of the poem to whisper the color they are today.

Hold up a colorful object or graphic and read the poem aloud.

Are you yellow like the sun, feeling happy inside? 

Are you as red as a stop sign today because you feel frustrated or upset? 

Are you orange today, loud and messy, like paint splashed on a wall?

Are you blue today, feeling sad or a bit lonely?

Maybe, you’re purple, bright and happy like a butterfly in the sky?

Are you soft gray today, like the ocean when it’s calm and as flat as glass?

You could be green; are you green and chirping with joy like a cricket singing its song?

Tell the class that you plan to save time before dismissal for everyone to…PSSSSS…whisper what color they are at the end of the day.

Use this color-based school day starter to lead a discussion about how feelings as colors for a rainbow. At times, we are all like every color in the world.

What School Day Starters work best for you to help children get ready to listen and learn? Please send comments and subscribe to Attentionology.

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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