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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.