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Attention signals
Old 04-14-2008, 12:08 PM
 
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I just learned a new attention signal this weekend, called "Class-Yes." When you say "class", the kids say "yes." However you say "class," that's how they say "yes." So if you say "classity-class!" they say "yessity-yes!" I learned about it when someone at another forum linked to this video: http://youtube.com/watch?v=eBeWEgvGm2Y&feature=user

Anyway, I used it today in a class where I had already tried several signals that failed (hand raised, clapping, bell, shouting "freeze"). And it worked quite well, and was fun for me and the kids! I am excited about having a new trick up my sleeve.

What are other people's favorite attention-getting signals?


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Old 04-14-2008, 01:54 PM
 
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That's a great tool, but I really don't see my students following it. They would be making fun of it.
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Old 04-14-2008, 03:17 PM
 
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I have seen this method before! In fact, there is a whole method of teaching behind this. You teach new material and then your students teach each other using hand gestures and explaining just what you said. The new pieces of information can only happen in 30 second spurts, after which the students reteach their peers.

I can't for the life of me remember the name of the man who developed it but it is amazing to watch. I think it constantly keeps the kids thinking, moving, and discussing. They are actively learning.

Last edited by Luv2TeachK-6; 04-14-2008 at 04:36 PM..
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Old 04-14-2008, 03:42 PM
 
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I was worried as well that the kids (4th grade) would find it babyish, and I wasn't even sure I was going to try it, because I was nervous it would be a big flop. But in this case, it really felt like we were having fun together, not like I was making the kids do something they found dumb.

Of course, my favorite is those rare classes where I just have to ask for student attention and they tune in without having to do any special tricks.

Another signal I really like is the silent one where the teacher puts up a hand and all kids who notice put up their own hand and listen, and it spreads throughout the room quickly.
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Old 04-15-2008, 05:53 AM
 
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I love that! I am going to school to be a teacher and have been looking for different classroom management techniques. That one is really cool. I also watched the video of the 3rd grade teacher using it in her classroom and her kids loved it! I'm sharing it with my classmates. I think they'll like it. Thanks for posting this!


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Old 04-15-2008, 06:30 AM
 
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I don't care for any of those silly teacher says-kids say signals. They don't work and as soon as the kids say it back they are talking again. I am in many classrooms because I'm teaching special ed now. It is funny to hear the teacher keep repeating their saying over and over again. They don't seem to get that it doesn't work. You have to teach them to be quiet. Use different levels for different activities or there will be a consequence. The best one that I have used and/or seen that was effective is to blink the lights off. The kids immediately look up and are quiet. You don't have to talk over them, clap or anything-which makes even more noise.
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Old 04-15-2008, 06:44 AM
 
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I sort of agree with you, Liu, but sometimes the light trick doesn't even work. I think that clapping/mimicking method works well if the teacher uses it. A sub using it one day might not work well because it needs to be modeled and the kids need to get used to it.

The methods that are tried and true for subs seem to not affect some of the kids these days. I am always looking for new classroom management techniques for my future classroom, but I don't think using these techniques with a class for one day as a sub would be effective.

Any other great methods that everyone has used subbing?
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:35 PM
 
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I agree that the lights one is a good one. You don't have to worry about not being seen or heard; the signal is guaranteed to reach every student in the room.

It never occurs to me to try turning lights off, though. When I was student teaching last year, I flicked the lights on and off for dramatic effect during a lesson (we were "time traveling" back to the Old West), and the class screamed, in that "we're not actually scared but this is vaguely reminiscent of something spooky and we like excuses to scream" sort of way. So I think part of me has always been afraid since then that light flickering = screaming kids. Although, once again, if that is a signal a class is familiar with, that obviously wouldn't happen.

I guess the best thing is just to know a ton of different signals to try and then use one that matches the attitude of the class. For example, with first grade, I have found success with *clap, clap, clapclapclap* and then everybody putting their hands on their heads. I used it in one class where the teacher had established that signal, and then transplanted it into another class where the TA told me they didn't really have an effective signal at the moment. It worked well both times.
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heres what I do...
Old 04-15-2008, 06:14 PM
 
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I ask the class what their teacher does when he/she wants them to be quiet and look at them...and I follow that.

If they say "nothing"....then I try and teach them "one two three eyes on me." (younger elementary grades)

If they are on computers with headphones, or in the room at centers I will flick the lights to let them know they have a certain amount of time before its time to quit.

Upper elementary, I usually just flick the lights, or tell them that I'm ready to start class and I will wait for them to get quiet. I will take down names of who is not cooperating.

I also have a WHISTLE with me all the time for those classes who don't respond to any type of quiet signal. I've only ever had to use it in 3 or 4 classes. Most kids feel really bad when I explain to them that I've only had to use it on classes that are not very good listeners. It gets their attention for the rest of the day lemme tell ya!!!!
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Clap one time if you hear me...
Old 04-15-2008, 06:29 PM
 
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As a sub, I use the Clap one time if you hear me. Clap two times if you hear me and so on. I find this works best because you don't really need to model it beforehand. You give the direction and they do it. I keep going up in number until everyone is quiet. I usually use it on the playground when they are lining up and I don't have a whistle. In the classroom, I use it if they are especially noisy. I like it best for big groups.

I also ask the class if they have a quiet signal already. Many do not.


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Old 04-15-2008, 08:03 PM
 
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I was in a class today where I was subbing for an aide and the main teacher and her intern were also there. The student I was to aide was absent today so it made for a LONG day. I "cut my teeth" as a sub in this classroom so I am comfortable enough to go around helping the students, but the rest of the time I was sitting being bored out of my mind! Anyway, every time the intern tried to get them to be quiet she would say, "bubble". I never got that and it most certainly did not work for her. Has anyone else heard of that?

In classes with excessive talkers I give them so much leeway and then let the class know that I will begin writing down the names of anyone that is talking, not working, out of seat, etc. and once they have three checks by their name they have to pull a card. Depending on the offense, some pull a card right away. I get differing opinions from teachers regarding "excessive" card pulling just over talking. So I came up with this method and it works well for me. I use it mainly in 2-4th grades.

I have also done the lights out trick and it works every time!
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Old 04-16-2008, 05:17 AM
 
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Bubble: Should be the cue for them to put an imaginary bubble in their mouth.

Lights off does work but check first for windows...I was in a 5th grade classroom in a school that was getting remodeled and while there were windows, on the other side was a new wall...I did the lights out and it was completely pitch black.....oops!

I don't care for "hush-puppies"...I don't know why but that annoys me.

Several teachers here have magic wands, when tapped on the desk they make a humming sound (like a tuning fork), I saw this used in K and was very effective and you didn't have to talk over the children, as soon as they heard it they knew to stop and look at the teacher.

I think a lot of these things are effective IF they have been used effectively on a routine basis with the children. But of course coming in for one day can make it hard to get them to respond...depending on the classroom.
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Old 04-16-2008, 09:29 AM
 
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I only sub elementary level. All I do, for any of the elementary grades, is to count slowly 1,2,3. I don't shout but I do say it a little louder than my normal voice. No matter what their teacher's signal is...they know what counting to three means. The only difference for the different grades is how sternly I say it. 4th graders can handle you sounding almost like a drill sergeant. Kinders need it said a little nicer or you'll have several crying!

I don't think it's necessary to find out what the teacher's signals are. It's ok if things are different while you're there and I think trying to do things just like the teacher is putting too much work on yourself.

No matter what signal you want to use, none of them will work if you don't back them up. For instance, when I get to 3 and there are still kids talking I'll say "OK who's still talking at 3?" "Dylan, do I need to (change your color, have you sign the discipline book, give you some of this extra work...etc, etc)." That usually shuts them up. If one starts talking again right away, I'll decide whether to warn them again or to give them the punishment stated before.

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Old 04-16-2008, 01:55 PM
 
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I count sometimes, although usually backwards to zero instead of forwards to three.

One thing I like about counting (or about a chime where you need to be quiet by the time it has stopped ringing) is that kids have a few seconds to finish what they are doing and get ready to listen, rather than trying to freeze and listen halfway through writing a word or saying a sentence to their partner. I think that makes them better listeners, when they have a few seconds to mentally transition, even if I'm just stopping them to give a quick instruction and then have them go back to work.
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Old 04-16-2008, 03:24 PM
 
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Power teaching by Chris Biffle. Amazing!!!!
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Old 04-16-2008, 03:46 PM
 
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I completely detest those "cutsie" attention signals. I do not like the "lights off" one either. My reason is that they are not all that functional.

Attention signals need to be quiet and portable. If you train your students to respond to lights, what do you do when you are in a place without lights to turn off, such as outside or in a common area of the school? What if you use a clapping pattern or chant and you are in a public place such as a theater?

The schools where I work all use the raised hand. It is silent and portable. Because everyone takes the time to teach it and use it, it's quick and effective.
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:20 AM
 
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I agree with the people who don't use attention-getting signals. Remember Fraulein Maria in the Sound of Music, who refused to use Captain Von Trapp's whistle to summon the children?

I find that if I start talking quietly, those who notice will tell their friends to be quiet. It's amusing because students can tell each other to "shut up" (or worse!), even though I'm not allowed to.

Hope everyone is having a great week!
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Old 04-19-2008, 08:00 AM
 
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I-sub-2 -- that is great that the raised hand works for you. It would rarely work for me when things get very loud because at that point, no-one is even looking at me. I could stand there until the cows come home (lol) with a raised hand and no-one would pay attention or quiet down. Or maybe a few would, but not the whole class.

What generally works for me is to say, "It is way too loud in here. I need quiet in 5-4-3-2-1" and I count down with my hand at the same time. If the class is already fairly quiet and I need their attention, I say something along the lines of, "Boys and girls I need your attention for a minute."

I agree with lights out not always working because sometimes the kids do scream if the room gets "too" dark.
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Silence
Old 04-19-2008, 11:15 AM
 
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Normally one thing or another will eventually work to settle things down. I have written "FUN FRIDAY" or "SNACKS" on the board and for every offense I quietly walk over and erase a letter. If all of the letters are gone by the time they are to get the prize they do not get it.

HOWEVER, nothing was working for this class I was in Thurs, Friday and again next Mon. So I just sat down in the front of the room and didn't say a word and crossed my arms in front of me and just sat there till a few noticed, then told the others and then they all went silent looking at me like, "UH OH I AM IN TROUBLE".
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Key point
Old 08-06-2008, 03:11 PM
 
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I have used this method of look, listen, repeat to a friend in first grade. It works great. The key point is that you start it on day one and stay consistent. Also, they are learning how to listen. It is fun and it may take up to a week for the kids to catch on. I only used it for my morning meetings. Throughout, the year you must change it up a bit to keep it interesting. Children that were not following immediatly left the carpet area. Its worth a try.
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Old 09-08-2008, 05:29 PM
 
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It's called power teaching. I used this in 5th grade and it worked well and now I am using it in 2nd grade .... they are still learning but they respond well.
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