5 Ways to Get Student Attention in the Classroom

A new school year usually means a new teacher, new expectations, and new routines, so our students sometimes don't respond the way we'd hope when we try to get their attention in the early days and weeks. Here are my 5 favorite ways to get my students' attention in the classroom.

If you're an elementary teacher looking for fun, creative ways to get your students' attention, this post is for you! I'm sharing 5 top attention grabber ideas and signals that are perfect for any elementary classroom. Grab a free set of call and response call backs for your own classroom!

Music, Songs & Sound Effects

I love using music in my classroom for a wide variety of purposes, and it can be very effective as a way of getting your students' attention. Short sound clips saved to your computer or another device can be accessed quickly and easily. Try:

  • the Mission Impossible theme,
  • the Jeopardy music,
  • a doorbell chime,
  • the whistle from The Andy Griffith Show,
  • the Pink Panther theme, 
  • any other short song, sound effect or music clip!

Call-Backs and Rhymes

When I first started teaching in the primary division I really relied heavily on these. I started my year with "Hands free, eyes on me" and then changed that to something similar that had been working for our other primary teachers for a while and something my students were already trained to respond to. It is a callback that goes like this:

Teacher: "Hands on top."
Class: "That means stop."

You can grab a free set of 18 callback cards for your classroom along with lots of other goodies here in my Freebie Library!

If you're an elementary teacher looking for fun, creative ways to get your students' attention, this post is for you! I'm sharing 5 top attention grabber ideas and signals that are perfect for any elementary classroom. Grab a free set of call and response call backs for your own classroom!

Hand Signals

I find teaching really hard on my voice. I know that I've suffered some damage over my many years in the classroom. For this reason, I love using hand signals to get my students' attention. My go-to signal is a simple 5-finger countdown. By the time I'm at zero I expect my students to have all eyes and ears on me. I use this a lot during partner sharing on the carpet in particular.

If you're an elementary teacher looking for fun, creative ways to get your students' attention, this post is for you! I'm sharing 5 top attention grabber ideas and signals that are perfect for any elementary classroom. Grab a free set of call and response call backs for your own classroom!

Clapping

This year, I've relied more on clapping patterns than ever before. I have a more physical class than in recent memory and they have required something more kinesthetic to truly gain their undivided attention. One of the true benefits of clapping is that the students are forced to empty their hands. Try:

  • having students to repeat a clapping pattern,
  • saying, "If you can hear my voice, clap once. If you can hear my voice, clap twice." etc. (You don't need to use much volume here. If even one student can hear you you'll have everyone's attention within a couple of clapping sequences!)

Movement

Another great strategy for a physical class is to incorporate movement into the attention signal. A game of "Teacher Says" or "Simon Says" is a great way to get your students to stop what they're doing, empty their hands, and turn their attention to you.

Share an Idea!

I know that my readers have tons of great strategies for getting student attention in the classroom, and I'd love for you to share your ideas in the comments below. Together, we are stronger!


You might also be interested in the ideas in this blog post:

If you're an elementary teacher looking for fun, creative ways to get your students' attention, this post is for you! I'm sharing 5 top attention grabber ideas and signals that are perfect for any elementary classroom. Grab a free set of call and response call backs for your own classroom!

Take a look at more classroom management ideas and resources on this Pinterest board:


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If you're an elementary teacher looking for fun, creative ways to get your students' attention, this post is for you! I'm sharing 5 top attention grabber ideas and signals that are perfect for any elementary classroom. Grab a free set of call and response call backs for your own classroom!

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