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PRESCHOOL CLASSROOM ATTENTION GRABBERS
  

If you are having trouble grabbing your children’s attention in a classroom situation, here are some tips.

Children learn by being engaged in fun and appropriate activities.  If children do not want to participate in an activity, it may be that it is inappropriate for their age.  It is the job of the teacher to make learning interesting, appropriate and fun.

When you want children to change activities give them an agreed upon sign that it is time to clean up.  You should never have to yell.
Flick the lights
Turn on music
Ring a bell
Shake a maraca or jar of peas.
Individually notify each child that something special is coming up.
Have children pretend to be busy bees (or other animal) cleaning up their home.
Hold up a Stop Sign
 
Make the transition activity mysterious, or something that will appeal to them.
Start doing silly exercises with a few children.
Start singing songs with a few children, let them choose the song.
Start a Congo line and dance around the room ending up in the Circletime area.
Become a train and have children hook on.
Bring in a special animal puppet and a corresponding book to read to children.
Play a circle game with your children.

Ways to get children to settle down at Circle time.
Have children sit in circle and pretend to be wiggle worms, who wiggle and wiggle.  Slowly have them do wiggle exercises that are slower and slower. (Like wiggle your eye lashes).  Tell them finally, that now that all their wiggles are gone, it is time to do something special.
One of my favorite quiet-downer (especially when telling a story) is to tell your children that you have a special bird friend that always comes down and sits on your shoulder when you are sitting quiet.  Tell you children that they can have a bird come too, if they are quite. Let children tell you about their bird friend. If a child starts talking or moving around a lot, you can just say, “Oh, John you scared away your bird.  Maybe if you settle down, he will come back”.

Have children lay down and close their eyes.  Try to get them to visualize different objects or scenes.  Let children briefly tell about what they saw.


Ways to get your children to come to snack time and settle down.
Set out colored placemats at your snack table. Then go around the room and give out snack tickets, with different colors. Tell you children that they can go find their snack waiting on the placemat with the same color as their ticket – as soon as they clean up what they are doing.
Play music during snack time.

Read a story during snack time.


Ways to encourage children to come in from outside.
Stand by the door and pass out color tickets.  Each ticket is for admission to a special area in the room.  (Blue tickets are for the dress-up area, etc.)  First children to come, get to choose their ticket. Last children get whatever is left.
Start a marching line of soldiers and march around the play area until everyone gets in line.  Then march into the room.

Once you get everyone’s attention is the time to reinforce basic concepts through songs, games and books.
Read a book.
Act out a story, or pretend to be different animals.
Play a name recognition and observation games.
Sing songs about seasons or concepts, play instruments.
Review colors, numbers or letters by playing games where everyone participates.  Play guess what is in the bag.  Play “one of these things is not like the others”.
Do not lecture.  Make every activity an action or hands on activity for children.  Just listening to you is not enough!

Ways to get children to leave circle time in a fun but orderly fashion.
Dismiss children by the colors they are wearing, such as “anyone wearing white may leave now and go to _____”.
Sit in a circle and roll a ball to a child.  He rolls the ball to another child, then leaves the circle.
Call out a child’s name and tell her to leave the circle like a sneaky cat.  Continue dismissing other children, having them pretend to be other animals.