Attention Management

A procedure is essential for gaining students’ attention. Much instructional time is lost and teacher stress is increased without some procedure.

A procedure is described below for quickly obtaining students’ attention.

View the visual, Attention Management, and let students know that this is the procedure you will use to get their attention. Raise a hand showing “give me five” (two eyes on the teacher, two ears listening, and one mouth closed). (The visual is on page 97 of the Resource Guide.)

Explain that you will continue teaching when ALL hands are raised. If someone has not raised a hand, it is the students’ responsibility to prompt that person to follow the procedure.

Second, when you give the “go ahead,” ask students to introduce themselves to one other person giving the other person (1) the name they wish to be called (e.g., “Archie” rather than “Archibald”) and (2) something personal about themselves (hobby, favorite activity, etc.)

After one minute, raise your hand, and TIME in seconds how long it took to have everyone raise a hand to give you their silent attention. DO NOT SAY ANYTHING UNTIL EVERY STUDENT HAS A RAISED HAND AND EVERYONE HAS STOPPED TALKING. Let them know how long it took.

Third, challenge them by letting them know that you believe they can follow the procedure in a shorter period of time. Have students introduce themselves to someone with whom they have not yet spoken, and then you say, “Let’s see if we can do this in a shorter period of time.”

Give them the “go ahead” again. After you have allowed a little more time than in the first introductions, raise a hand and start timing. Announce how long it took for everyone to follow the procedure. Congratulate them on how they accomplished the task in a shorter period of time.

In order to be consistent, regularly continue to raise a hand to obtain students’ attention.

Remember that rarely can anyone do something once and repeat it exactly as learned at first. In order for the procedure to become a ritual, you will periodically need to repeat the instructions of “give me five” to have it remain as effective as it was when you first modeled, taught, practiced, and reinforced it.