Getting a class' attention

Discussion in 'High School' started by ograwk, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. ograwk

    ograwk Rookie

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    Dec 10, 2012

    This is my first year teaching high school - I have taught elementary school for the past 17 years. My question is, what are some good methods for getting the class' attention? In elementary school, we clapped, chanted, counted - I had lots of tricks, but I don't think they are appropriate for high school. I have large classes - some at 41, my smallest is 38, so I need some way to get their attention quickly that will not seem juvenile to them, and that won't require me to have to shout above them. I've been using the "class, yes" method from Whole Brain Teaching, which works for some periods, but others it doesn't. Any advice?
     
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  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Aficionado

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    Dec 10, 2012

    flicker the lights?
     
  4. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Fanatic

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    Dec 10, 2012

    I usually say, "Everyone stop what you're doing. Please put your eyes on me." I'd say it works 98% of the time, even with my class of 45.
     
  5. vivalavida

    vivalavida Companion

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    Dec 10, 2012

    I'm interested in responses as well. The teacher I worked with for my practicum wasn't extremely strict when it came to having students' attention, so when I did anything with the class as a whole, they continued to talk over me as they did for her! Ugh! I'm definitely curious to hear your tips/tricks!
     
  6. MissApple

    MissApple Companion

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    Dec 13, 2012

    I honestly would try some of the stuff you use with younger grades. Even if it sounds babyish, the older kids get a kick out of it. If I know what their elementary teacher may have used (peace and quiet was a big one in my area) I'll use that because they instantly recognize it and think it's fun to act like a little kid again.

    I don't use that all the time though. In my school we raise a hand silently and all of the kids are expected to quiet down and raise their hand. They need a lot of practice though.
     
  7. HeartDrama

    HeartDrama Connoisseur

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    Dec 13, 2012

    My seminar instructor said something that always works is "Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your attention." She says it works amazingly. I've tried and have had okay results.

    I found myself saying "Hey! Hey!" when my students got too loud. There used to be a TV show on in the late 70s called "What's Happening!!" When one of the characters, Dwayne, would enter they would say, "Hey! Hey! Hey!" with a certain intonation. (See the :32 mark here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmxSOc1YH6g). So I recently decided to use that as my attention grabber. I say Hey! Hey! Hey! and they all repeat it after me. They're 8th graders and you'd think I was giving them candy! They ask to say it over and over again.
    It works for me because it fits my personality. I think the key is to find a catch phrase that they can repeat or respond to. It could even be a refrain from a popular song. Works for me.
     
  8. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    Dec 15, 2012

    I say "Eyes and ears on me". I've been rather surprised at how well it has worked, considering that I find it somewhat babyish.
     
  9. UniQK

    UniQK New Member

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    Dec 22, 2012

    Stand in-front of them, give them the eye don't say anything depending on your relationship one of them will say "oh come on guys listen up" Respect is earned so say thank you and get straight back on to where you left off. if it happens again when they all go quiet give them a little bit of a talk get them to agree then continue.
     
  10. TeachingHistory

    TeachingHistory Comrade

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    Dec 22, 2012

    I simply say "Eyes up here" and wait. If it takes the kids more than a few seconds I say "I'll wait". I go dead still and wait. It'll take my kids about another 10 seconds to figure it out and get quiet. Whenever they get quiet I always say thank you. When I teach I'm very animated and move around the classroom a lot. So when I stop moving they all look at me because they think something is wrong.

    When I was student teaching I unknowingly trained my kids to get quiet when I leaned against the projector cart. One day they were being very self sufficient and productive with group work so I decided to just watch and see what they would come up with. I leaned against the projector cart not thinking, they all got dead silent and stared at me. They had to tell me what I did!
     
  11. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Dec 22, 2012

    I count down 3-2-1. I count slowly so the students can finish whatever sentence they're saying, but no more than that. It works most of the time.

    I don't like the more babyish ways of getting attention. I figure, if it would annoy me to have a principal say it to a bunch of teachers at a staff meeting, I'm not going to say it to my high schoolers.
     
  12. blinkjoeboy

    blinkjoeboy New Member

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    Dec 28, 2012

    You can always go with the "10...9...8...7...6...." routine. Usually works for me, but then you need to speak clearly and fluently to keep their attention. Speak (really) softly to allow them to open their ears and listen. I work in an inner city high school and this works all of the time.
     
  13. Cold Pastoral

    Cold Pastoral New Member

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    Jan 5, 2013

    I have rules set up (paraphrased: 1. Respect everyone. 2. Listen, not talk, while others are talking. 3. Discuss ideas in an orderly fashion.). So, I'll say, "I need you all up here" and use two of my fingers to point at my eyes. I wait a moment, and if anyone's still mumbling, I'll politely say, "<student's name>, which rule are you breaking?" Because I've established the rules so well (they've been tested on it; we've gone through them millions of times), they'll usually roll their eyes, say, "1 and 2," and then I'll respond, "Thank you." After that, the class is pretty quiet.

    Some people raise their hand and have their students raise theirs in response until the whole class is quiet with their hands up. I don't think I could pull that off because I have a fear of holding my hand up, and no one caring :)
     
  14. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    Jan 5, 2013

    I don't do anything fancy--I just make a general statement about how I need the class's attention. I wait until ALL students are quiet before I start talking. I will never talk over students, and they realize that quickly.
     
  15. Studentteacher8

    Studentteacher8 Rookie

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    Jan 19, 2013

    Stand in front of the class with your hand raised and say something simple like "I'd like your attention please", and wait. I haven't tried this myself, a highly experienced teacher told me this and she said it really does work.
     
  16. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    Jan 19, 2013

    45 students is a lot for one person!
     
  17. OneBerry

    OneBerry Comrade

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    Jan 24, 2013

    With 6th graders, they totally mastered my favorite technique, in which I say "I need all eyes on me" and wait to continue until I have made eye contact with every student and there is silence. Don't know how it would work with high schoolers, especially so many of them, but it's something to try.
     
  18. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    Jan 24, 2013

    I loved that show. I am going to have to try that one out!
    Hey! Hey! Hey!
     
  19. TeacherAnon

    TeacherAnon Rookie

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    Jan 30, 2013

    I just stand there and say, “That’s OK. I’ve got all day. You, on the other hand, have the same amount of work to do whether we start now or in 10 minutes.” Once that cat is out of the bag invariably there’s shushing and eventually a “Hey, shut up!” A few acrimonious looks are exchanged and I offer to wait some a couple more minutes if they need me to.

    My students police themselves pretty good. By the time we’re 4 to 5 weeks in all I have to do is stand there and look like I want to say something and it’s like someone is knifing tires in the faculty lot. “Shhhh!” “Shush!” “Jeeez!” “SHUT UP!”

    This technique also works during a note taking session. I don’t do lectures. I give you info that you really should have on your notes because I like open note quizzes and since I’m a Professional Technical Educator I like to let you take your notes to your machine when I give a low stakes practical examination. Sometimes, during these sessions I’ll find a couple of young people with their heads together talking or simply engaging in a little game of what I call “Slap & Tickle”. Basic goofing around stuff, they get all middle school and giggly. That’s when I engage a “Proximity Teaching” strategy.

    Proximity Teaching means that if a couple of students are off task rather than hollering at them I simply move myself toward them. When, in proximity, I get close enough they will simply be quiet. Yeah, the teacher is standing right there teaching—whatcha gonna do?
     
  20. JessicaKellin

    JessicaKellin Rookie

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    Feb 19, 2013

    Stand in front of the room, look impatient and unimpressed, and they will shut up. All it takes is one student to see you and they will signal to the rest of the class.

    I count in my head when I do this and I'll let them know how long it took for me to have their complete attention. This works for their competitive side - compare them to other classes or to their previous bests.
     
  21. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Phenom

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    Feb 19, 2013

    I did a 5-point focus thing, in which I counted to 5 and each step meant something different.

    It took too long (yes 5 seconds to me is too long) and it often didn't work and we'd have to practice.

    I am trying "I'll give you three seconds to have all eyes on me, 1... 2... 3..." Or, "I need your attention in 3... 2... 1."

    It's worked pretty well so far. If people are still talking, I give them a count. (if they get to three it's out of the classroom until they can handle themselves)
     

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