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8 Fun Attention Getters to Refocus Your Classroom and Get Back on Track

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Photo of Holly (Teach Starter)
Updated | 3 min read

Tell us if this sounds familiar: Your class is excited, and they’re getting a little on the rowdy side. All you need to do is get their attention, and you know you can redirect them.

Only … how do you grab the attention of 19 very excited elementary schoolers? Whether you’re a new or experienced teacher, strategies for getting student attention are an important part of your classroom management. And let’s face it — sometimes you could use a few fresh attention-grabbing strategies to redirect your students and get the whole class back on track. That same old “clapping rhyme” has just become background noise!

What is a Good Attention Getter?

When you’re trying to get students’ attention, you want to avoid getting loud or sounding angry. The goal of a good attention grabber isn’t to chastise students who very often are just letting out a little bit of childish exuberance. It’s to help them refocus on the task at hand!

Attention Getter Examples

Here are some fresh attention-getting strategies and examples of attention-grabbing ideas to apply in your classroom!

Call and Response

This is a very popular strategy to gain the attention of your students. The teacher calls out a statement, then the students need to respond! Check out our Attention-Grabbing Phrase Cards for ideas.

At the beginning of each week, display the phrase that will be the attention grabber for that week. Each week, change it so that the students have enough time to get used to one saying!

You could also vote each week on the one the class wants to use!

Use A Local Sports Team Chant

Another call and response option kids love is to draw from local sports. You could use popular chants from your own district’s high school teams or something from the popular team from your state.

Live in New York and love football? You may call out J-E-T-S … and get a “Jets, Jets, Jets” back from your kids whose attentions are now fully grabbed!

Hail from Kansas? You can always call out Rock Chalk, and expect a Jayhawk back!

Mirror Movement

Stand at the front of the class and do different movements, such as hands on your head, finger on nose, both hands in the air, hands on your shoulders, etc. Continue this until the whole class copies your actions.

This is an incredibly effective way to gain the attention of a very noisy class. With no noise, you’ll be able to gain the attention of  your class very quickly!

If You Can Hear Me, Touch Your …

This is another form of movement mirroring, but add your voice. Call out a different body part each time to make sure your students really have to listen up and pay attention.

Complete the Compound Word

This attention-getting idea is best suited to younger students, and they love it! The idea is the students must complete the compound word  (you may opt to use our compound cards to assist students)!

Here are some examples:

  • Teacher says star, students say fish
  • Teacher says pop, students say corn
  • Teacher says cheese, students say cake
  • Teacher says apple, students say sauce


Musical Transitions

Using a musical instrument or music is another great way to gain the attention of your students, whether it be a rainmaker, bell, or chime that is lightly played until all the students are quiet! Again, it is important to mix this up a bit so that the students don’t become used to the sound

Clap and Repeat

Ah, the good old clap and repeat — some teachers love it, others don’t — but it can be very effective in drawing students’ attention back to you and helping them refocus on learning.

One idea that can really ensure your students listen is to clap out a pattern and make your students clap it back, but change up the pattern every time!

Sing It

Use lines from popular songs!

Kids love coming up with their own, especially if it is a song they all know! Here are a couple of examples:

  • Stop…collaborate and listen.
  • Hakuna…matata!

Bonus: You can use songs from your childhood (what your students call the olden days!), and improve their musical education!

What works for you? We would love to hear from you! What works in your classroom?


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