I've just begun taking over the classroom full time and I'm having some trouble with keeping the students' attention. When they realize my supervising teacher is out of the classroom all "you know what" breaks loose! It doesn't matter how fun or hands on my lesson plan is...they seem to not care. I hate to be Mr. Mean, which is what I've had to implement the past few days to try and gain their respect, but I was wondering if there are a few quick attention grabbers that you use in the classroom. I often use the countdown method...5-4-3-2-1, or simple raise my hand and wait for students to do the same. These fourth graders act like this is childish. You should see the snotty expressions on their faces and I'm sick of it. Any advice on how to make my transition in to the classroom a little more smooth. THANKS!!!
I don't know how the class is set up, but I know a 4th grade teacher who would reward groups with tallies...I think either day or week the group with the most got some sort of reward... a few min. of free time, computer time, a small candy bar or something.
I know in 1st I used to look around for those doing what they were suppose to and throw them a "kiss".(Hershey's kisses)...they loved that. I know a 5th grade teacher who would walk around and without noticing pass out jolly ranchers.
There are several old threads on AtoZ about this topic. Do a search for a great selection of ideas.
I use the "clap once if you can hear me" all the time with 5th grade. They respond very well. The last time I say something like, "clap three times if you are in your seat ready to ____" work on math, discuss our project...or whatever we need to do next.
I keep a bell on my desk and ring that sometimes. You could try, 'freeze'. I don't like it because it can get them a little wound up. I also don't like flashing the lights, but it works for some people. Often I just quietly say, "I see one person has the folder out ... two ... three", etc.
The main thing is, once you find something, be consistent with it. Don't let them see you upset. I know it's easy for me to say, but it's for the best. All joking aside, they're like dogs, they smell insecurity.
I use the music box with my 4th graders. Other things I have seen:
Use a stopwatch. Once they interrupt your teaching start the timer. They lose that much time from recess, specials, etc.
Simply stop talking. Silence can work wonders.
Create a competition between the boys and the girls.
Award raffle tickets to the first, best, quietest, etc and every week/month do a drawing for free time, special chair, etc.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
A pretty neat idea for when the children are getting a little out of hand is to say in a soft voice, only loud enough for those who are listening to hear "If you can hear me, clap once." The few students who are listening will clap once. Their clap will get the attention of some others, then say in the same tone, "If you can hear me, clap twice." Then those students will clap twice. Keep this going and soon you will have all of the students attention. It usually works after about the third clap. Once you have their attention, let them know that if the behavior continues, you will begin taking away something they value, maybe a few minutes of time towards something fun like a video. Good luck.
My class this year is just loud, unruly and is having a hard time getting into our routine which is the same everyday. Most of them are so young. I tell them to do something and some just ignore me and I am trying not to say things more than once but some don't listen!! I have been trying all different kids of techniques but I will def have to try some the above suggestions.