How do you get your students' attention?

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by amethyst, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. amethyst

    amethyst Companion

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    Feb 5, 2014

    I am student teaching in a Kindergarten class. I was there last semester p/t, but mostly observing. Now, I'm starting to teach more lessons, and I have a hard time getting the whole class's attention. I have a very low voice, for one thing, no matter how hard I try to project it, it's just not as loud as other people's. Not that I want to be screaming, either, I don't! I think part of the problem is that the students are used to me being more in the background/assisting, and are testing me. I am a very calm person, and try to use positive statements like "We are quiet now and listening for directions," as opposed to "Be quiet!!!" However, it just wasn't working during the two math lessons I did (both whole group, kids at their seats, and in the afternoon, after lunch time).

    There are some kids who really just don't care, and just kept talking, and then there are the ones who are so easily distracted.
    Plus, my CT was busy talking to another teacher, and the aide was putting papers away, so the other adults were no more help, and were way more of a distraction to me and the kids!

    I kept trying to bring the kids back. I counted, I clapped, I waited, and it was a mess, and by the end of the class, I couldn't even believe we actually got through the page we were doing!

    The only thing that seemed to work was moving their clips from the green light to the yellow light using the stop light system the teacher has in place. I don't really like the system, and I almost never use it myself. However, the kids who would not stop talking (the ones who seemed to just not care), did stop when I did that).

    I do think that doing that a few times might take care of some of the problem all together, because they will probably take me more seriously. However, I see that as a last resort. I don't want too just threaten them with that. They already know that is a consequence in their class.

    I just need to figure out a good way for me to get their attention quickly and effectively. I've seen teachers use some fun ways like saying something and then the students repeat it back to them, but I can't think of what they were..... I think something like that would suit me well. I like to have fun with them and I want to keep it lighthearted, and I think something like that would work well for me to both do that and get their attention so that I can get them quiet and they can actually hear me!!

    (Sorry, didn't mean for that to be so long, but it really helped me to reflect on my teaching!!!)
     
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  3. dr.gator

    dr.gator Comrade

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    Feb 5, 2014

    Talk with your CT first and foremost. Get her opinion and see what she thinks. It is my opinion that you have to choose one system and stick with it. There is no magic cure all out there that will make them all be quiet instantly. And I don't mean that in a negative way either. Be consistent and be firm and eventually they will get the message.
     
  4. amethyst

    amethyst Companion

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    Feb 5, 2014

    Thank you, dr. gator. I know exactly what you mean. That's exactly why I want to try and figure out something that I think will really work for me and stick with it. I'm just really getting in there now, so I'm really seeing what I need to work on.
     
  5. Ponypal

    Ponypal Comrade

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    Feb 5, 2014

    I use "1 2 3! Eyes on me!"

    That works well in my class and I don't use it all the time.

    Use the class/schoolwide behavior system and enforce it , the stoplight that you mentioned. Sit down with the class and have a brief discussion of what you need/expect them to do. Cover consequences as well. Make this known and understood. Explain what method you will use as it may be clapping or 1 2 3 or something else. You may have to cover this discussion more than once until you see results. Have kids give feedback during this discussion.

    You may have to use a louder voice. (My family says that I talk too loud at home! I guess it's just a carry over from a full day with a classroom full of kids.)

    Keep proximity to students who need reminders. Praise those who follow the rules. Praise those who make a small growth in trying to follow the rules and then back off, giving a bit more expectation each time thereafter.
     
  6. asha

    asha Rookie

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    Feb 6, 2014

    I wonder if songs would not be an answer for you. You get attention with a song, and then tell them that after activity they will get another song. I also like using hand puppets and finger puppets., that gets their attention. I teach preschool, but I think that will still apply to older kids.
     
  7. teachart

    teachart Comrade

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    Feb 7, 2014

    A kindergarten teacher recommended "I Charts" when I was struggling with her class in art.

    You basically sit down, and talk about jobs. You ask them what your job is, and they'll say "teach" or "talk." Then you ask them what there job is. Make it clear, and then you can ask individual students if they are doing their job. It's been very helpful, although I'm still struggling.
     
  8. jlj

    jlj Devotee

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    Feb 11, 2014

    Clap a rhythm, then they repeat it. Explain that after they repeat the rhythm they are to stop, look and listen. I will repeat it to give everyone a chance to stop and clap and all be clapping in unison. Just don't repeat too many times.
    clap -clap -clap,clap,clap could also snap fingers, tap head, etc.

    There's also times I will say, "Eyes on me" and they say "Eyes on you" and give me their attention (well, sometimes :whistle: :D )

    Hope this helps :)
     
  9. HWvsTyping

    HWvsTyping Rookie

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    Feb 24, 2014

    I'll second jlj's suggestion. Every class I've ever subbed in has always understood that game immediately. Some of the others will get you funny looks, but clapping rhythms is as close to universal as they come.
     

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