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33 Attention Grabbers You Need to Try

July 21, 2021 by Heather Wagoner




🦈SHARK BAIT… 

…OOH! HA! HA!

Raise your hand if you’ve heard that before ^^^. 🙌🙋🏼‍♀️ (Probably too much if you teach primary kiddos.)

Now that I’ve got your attention, let’s talk ATTENTION GRABBERS! (See what I did there?)

So, you’re ready to start your lesson, now what? Maybe the class needs some redirection to the next activity, what do you do? Please don’t say, “I’ll just wait.” If you do you’ll ALWAYS have that one student who’s like, “Oh, yeah! I can talk all day!” You’ll end up frustrated even before the lesson begins and nobody’s got time for that.

Attention grabbers are INCREDIBLE tools to have in your teacher bag of tricks!

Teaching tiny humans requires a little FLAIR, so I’ve got 33 UNIQUE, ENGAGING, and QUICK attention grabbers to start your lessons or redirect the class. My class favorites were always #1, #5, #13, #16, #24, and #29!

Attention Grabber 1- “Shark Bait!” 

“Ooh, ha ha!” The teacher calls out “Shark Bait!” Students reply with “ooh, ha ha!” This attention-getter is always a hit with younger kiddos, especially those who adore Nemo and Dory!

2- Doorbell!🚪🔔

Yes, a doorbell! Amazon has these awesome doorbells that you plug anywhere in your room. Keep the button near you and whenever you need their attention, ring the bell. My class loved ours! 

3- Flat Tire! 

What sounds does a flat tire make? SSSHHHHHH.” The teacher calls out “flat tire!” and students respond with “ssshhhhhh!”

4- “Holy Moly!” 

“Guacamole!” Love tacos and guac? 🌮 This call and response is for you and your class!

Attention Grabber 5- Vanilla Ice Inspired

T- “Ice, Ice!” S- “Baby!”

T- “Alright stop!” S- “Collaborate and Listen!”

 

6- “Hocus Pocus!” 

“Everybody Focus!” I love me some Hocus Pocus! This is a personal favorite of mine, especially during the fall! 🦇🎃

7- Whole Brain Teaching

WBT is all about engaging the “whole brain” when teaching. My favorite WBT call and response is “Class class!” and they respond, “yes yes!” The catch is the students MUST respond in the same voice as the teacher. High pitched, low monster tone, whispered, etc. 

8- “Macaroni and Cheese!

”Everybody freeze!” Then they freeze like a statue. 

Attention Grabber 9- Golden Arches! 🍟

Teacher- “Ba da ba ba ba” Students- “I’m Lovin it!” I prefer Chick-Fil-A but hey, it’s just for FUN and the kids enjoy it! 😜 

10- Use a Wind Chime

Think about the soothing sound of a wind chime. Reminds me of being outdoors, birds chirping, gentle breeze, the smell of fresh-cut grass. Now think about how soothing that sound could be as an attention-getter. They hear the sound and stop what they’re doing.

Attention Grabber 11- “1, 2, 3, Eyes on Me!”

Students- “1, 2, eyes on you!” Model for them how they stop, turn to you and listen for instructions.

12- “Peanut Butter!”

“And jelly!” Simple attention grabber, yet still creative! 

Attention Grabber 13- Compound words

Why not incorporate a skill into your attention getter with compound words? The teacher says the first word and the students say the second. Any compound word will work as long as you model for them how to stop, look, and listen once they complete the word. Here are some examples:

  • “Apple” “Sauce”
  • “Pop” “Corn”
  • “Hot”  “Dog”
  • “Butter” “Fly”
  • “Milk” “Shake”

14- Ready to Line Up?

How about this one for lining up: 

Teacher- “1, 2” 

Student- “3, 4”

Teacher- “Let’s go”

Student- “Out the door!”

Attention Grabber 15- “If You Can Hear My Voice…

…clap once.” I cannot tell you how many times I’ve used that call and response. It works like magic. The key here is starting at a whisper but not going over a regular talking voice. Kids start to wonder why some are clapping so they stop talking to listen. Boom! 

16- Bologna!

When you introduce this one, make sure you play the commercial. The kids will LOVE it. T- “My bologna has a first name!” S- “It’s O-S-C-A-R!”

Attention Grabber 17- Microphone 🎤

Sometimes all you need is a unique presentation! Cue, class microphone! Not only is it different, but the students get excited to use it too! Make sure to model expectations when using it. 

18- “Hands on Top!”

“That means stop!” Model how you expect them to stop, place their hands on their heads and look to you for instructions. 

19- “Who Let the Dogs Out?”

“Who, who, who?” Now the song will be stuck in your head. You’re welcome! 😂

20- Clap it Out

Want to include some rhythm in your routine? Clap a rhythm and have the kids repeat it. Change it up often to keep it engaging for the students. 

Attention Grabber 21- “Goodness, Gracious!”

“Great balls of fire🔥!” 

22- “Red Robin!”

“YUMMMMM!” 🍔 Got a Red Robin in your area? Toss this attention grabber in, I guarantee some of your students will know it!

23- “Spaghetti and…”

“Meatballs” 🍝 Again, I’m hungry now. 

24- “Chicka, Chicka”

“Boom! Boom!” This attention grabber is PERFECT for preschool classrooms that have read this book! My son LOVES Chicka Chicka Boom Boom! 

Attention Grabber 25- Toy Story Inspired

  • T- “To Infinity!” S- “And Beyond!”
  • T- “You’ve got a…” S- “Friend in Me!”

26- “M-I-C-K-E-Y”

“M-O-U-S-E” Be sure to sing it in your BEST Disney voice for dramatic effect! 😜

⭐️ Teach older students? These next few are specifically for you! ⭐️

27- Attention to the Queen or King

T- “Hear ye, hear ye!”

S- “All hail the queen!” (or king)

This is great if you teach literature!

28- Teach 5th grade?

T- “Team 5!”

S- “Is alive!”

Attention Grabber 29- Growth Mindset

T- “A Mistake is a Chance”

S- “To Try Again!”

I love this growth mindset-inspired attention grabber!

30- Incorporate tech

T- “Knowledge is POWER. Point to power!”

S- (points to the source of power- SmartBoard, computer, etc.)

31- MUSIC!

Play a quick 5 seconds of their favorite song. Model how they need to respond (get quiet, get out materials, look at you, etc). If they model expectations right away, you’ll let the song continue for a couple more seconds (giving that the song is appropriate for school).

32- “All Set!”

“You Bet!” For older kids, I’ve found that simpler is sometimes better. 😊

Attention Grabber 33- Inspired by Songs

These next few are all inspired by popular songs, past and present. Get your best singing voice ready for these, your older students will love them:

  • T- “Feelin’ good…” S- “Like I should” (from Surfaces, Sunday Best)
  • T- “Sweet Caroline!” S- “Ba Ba Ba!” Need I explain? If you’ve EVER been to a sporting event (or bar), chances are, you’ve participated in this one.
  • T- “Dm, Dm, Dm, Dm, Dm, Dm, Dm, Dm” S- “Ay Ay Ay!” (Crazy Train)
  • T- (dramatic) “MAMA!” S- “Oooooo!” (Queen- Bohemian Rhapsody)
  • T- “What is love?” S- “Baby don’t hurt me!” (Haddaway) 

⚠️ Remember, this is a management tool to help control the chaos that comes from teaching tiny humans. If you teach middle school and up, they might not be tiny humans, but they’re still kids. Have fun with it and make sure you MODEL, MODEL, MODEL

If you try to incorporate an attention-getter without setting the expectations and modeling, there’s a good chance it won’t be successful.

WRITTEN BY – HEATHER WAGONER

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