Thursday, July 30, 2015

Getting Your Student's Attention

How do you get your student’s attention?  You are standing in front of your class and you call out “Please look at me.”  Only a few students comply.  You raise your hand and say “Give me 5!”  A few more students comply.  You repeat yourself and ask everyone to please stop what they are doing and look at you.  At this point you can feel your blood pressure rising and your patience growing thin.  Your students know what you expect because they were trained what to do.  So why are they not stopping and paying attention?  You have important teaching to do!  Every teacher can get their students attention quickly and effectively with little to no interruption to learning.

Chapter 6 Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids

I remember all the different attention getters I have used in the past.  It’s A LOT!  Give me five, eyes on me, counting backwards, flipping the lights, time warnings, THE WORKS!  What I realized with each and every one of these was that over time my beloved rascals students became habituated to each of them.  I had to constantly change what I used to get my students attention.  In the words of a very wise woman….”Ain’t nobody got time for that!"

The neo-cortex, the part of your brain behind your forehead, controls decision making. When a teacher says “CLASS!” and students respond “YES!”, you have quickly and effectively focused your students neocortex on what you are going to say next.  Their brain’s executive decision making parts are ready to take directions from you, the teacher. (WBT website). TEACHER HEAVEN!

When introducing the Class/Yes to your students there is a simple script you can follow! This script can be found in the new Kinder-5th Grade Guide to Implementing WBT the first minute, first hour, first day, first week of your school year!  Click the image to download.

Introduction to WBT should begin the moment you meet
your students. I typically must pick up my students from a centralized area of the school on the first day. However, we know that many parents walk their student to the classroom the first day. It’s perfectly fine if this
happens. I will quickly meet them and then let them walk with me to pick up the rest of the students.

Many teachers have a get acquainted activity ready for their students the first day. The students come in and get to work on this activity while the teacher separates and organizes supplies that come in  the first day. I urge you to NOT DO THIS! No I am not crazy. You will use
introducing WBT to your classroom to get all this done.

When my students arrive at my classroom door, after I have picked them all up, they are immediately instructed to put their eyes on me. In the hall is where we begin our year. This is a typical exchange between me and my students.

Teacher: Eyes on me. My name is ____________ . I am super excited to be your teacher! (I use WBT Brainy gestures to say this to my students although they have no idea what I am doing. It will be clear to them later on)
Teacher: When I say Class, you say Yes! Class!
Students: Yes!
Teacher: When I say Class, you say Yes and fold your hands together and put your laser eyes on me. Class! (fold your hands)
Students: Yes (folding hands and looking intensely at you)
Teacher: However I say Class, you say Yes! Class! Class! (Fold your hands again to remind them.)
Students: Yes! Yes!! (Students fold their hands and look at you.)
Teacher: Oh, class!
Students: Oh, yes!
Teacher: Classadoodle!
Students: Yesadoodle!

Class/Yes can get your students attention in the blink of an eye! Want to get the attention of an entire cafeteria? Use class/yes! Need to get the attention of the entire school at an assembly? Use class/yes….it is MAGIC!

Teacher: Class, Class Class!
Students: Yes, Yes, Yes!
Teacher: Please, sit down as quickly and quietly as you can!
(Students sit in hallway)
Teacher: Class! (folding hands)
Students: Yess! (folding hands)
Teacher: My name is _____ and welcome to our classroom. (Use
oral writing)

Watch to see that your amazing scholars are following directions and focused on you! Delight in the fact that before you have even walked into the classroom your students are eating out the palm of your hand. You have made it through the first minute in your WBT classroom.

This is just an introduction to WBT for your classroom.  Many teachers use class/yes and nothing else!  That’s a good start but I encourage you to go further.  You have already set the tone for your classroom giving you a way to get your students attention immediately and effectively without wasting valuable teaching time.  There are different ways to change up the class/yes and even a way to add review of standards to your attention getter!  How cool is that!  Using every moment of the school day to facilitate learning is key in WBT!

Here is a little FREEBIE for you in your WBT Classroom!  This cute little pack includes procedure signs to help you remember to use them, including the CLASS/YES!

Have you used class/yes in your classroom?  What did you use before finding class/yes?  How did class/yes transform your classroom environment?  Share your thoughts below!

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