Attention Signal Ideas!

We all know how important it is to have an attention signal--or a variety of attention signals--in the classroom. Check out these attention signal ideas that teachers shared on the Minds in Bloom Facebook page!

A while back I asked my Facebook followers to share their favorite attention signals. They were, of course, awesome and shared a bunch of them. There are so many really great ideas that I decided to post them here for more teachers to see. I hope you find something you can use with your students!

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I like ‘eyes up’ and the students repeat it back to you! -Kristin Spade

When I say, ‘Class, class,’ the kids respond, ‘Yes, yes?’ However I say it, they have to say it back the same way. High-pitched, sing-song, zombie voice, in a rap, whatever. I mix it up every day to keep it interesting! (from Whole Brain Teaching) -Dallas Anne Thomspon

I use aboriginal clapping sticks and play a rhythm that they have to repeat. -Kristie Griffiths

‎’3-2-1′ or I use a timer -Danielle Miller

Whole Brain Teaching has some great strategies. Google ‘Class Yes’ for some ideas I use often via WBT. -Karen Keaton

I clap a pattern, and the students repeat the clap back to me. -Wolfelicious

I say ‘Freeze, please!’ and everyone has to put their hand up, be silent, and give our quiet signal (school abbreviation “AACL” in sign language). –Teresa Brown

I got this idea after reading the Chugga Chugga Choo Choo book: I say, ‘Chugga chugga,’ and the class says, ‘Choo choo.’ Then I say, ‘Whistle blowing,’ and they say, ‘Whoo-whoo.’ -Erika Hansing Gentry

I have a word for the day or week. When they hear it they know to give attention to me. The word matches a holiday or something w are learning (i.e. groundhog, butterfly). -Bethany Thornton

I have heard a teacher say, ‘Apple,’ and the kids freeze and say, ‘Sauce.’ I have also used, ‘1, 2, 3…eyes on me!’ The kids would respond with, ‘1, 2…eyes on you!’ -Rachael N. Duke

One that works at my school is saying, ‘Match me’ while patting your head, then ‘Match me’ while tapping your ears, then ‘Match me’ while placing a finger over your lips in silence. Our P.E. teacher uses it all the time, and the kids love it. -Bessie Dietrich Goggins

I say, ‘Hands on top,’ and students put their hands on their head and say, ‘That means stop.’ Or I say, ‘Peanut butter,’ and they say, ‘Jelly,’ and then we all clap our hands together and say, ‘Sandwich.’ -Amy Angle-Greiner

I use lots of different ones. Clapping patterns that they have to repeat back to me; the whole brain ‘Class Yes’ response that has already been mentioned. I use pairs of things that go together: I say, ‘Peanut butter;’ they say, ‘Jam.’  I say, ‘1,2,3 – eyes on me,’ and they reply, ‘1,2 – eyes on you!’ I say, ‘Look like a scholar,’ and they clap their hands twice, fold them on their desk, sit still, and look at me. I ask them to show me the fab five, and they stop talking, sit still, cross their hands, look at me, and listen. We have talked about what good listening looks like and sounds like, so I will ask them to show me now what good listening looks like and sounds like. -Karen Dunning

I say, ‘Hey! Hey! Listen up! Listen up!’ and the students who hear me repeat the chant. If the students didn’t hear me say it, then they usually hear the other students say it. I then say it again, and the students repeat again. The class knows that this means to freeze and listen. It works very well. I’ve used it during assemblies, and it gets the attention of all the students…mine or not. -Jodi Ruiz

I count down ‘5-4-3-2-1’ while holding up my hand and counting down with my fingers. I start loud on 5 and lower my voice as students start listening. I can vary the speed based on how quickly I need their attention. -Caitlin Varley

Teacher: ‘Macaroni and cheese!’ / Students: ‘Everybody freeze!’
Teacher: ‘Chicka chicka!’ / Students: ‘Boom boom!’
Teacher: ‘Red Robinnnn!’ / Students: ‘Yummmm.’
Teacher: ‘Ba da ba ba ba!’ / Students: ‘I’m lovin it.’
Teacher: ‘Ready to rock!’ / Students: ‘Ready to roll!’
Just to name a few. I make sure and set clear expectations that they have to freeze and put their eyes on me for further directions. The kids love it and it works like a charm! -Meghan Kroupa

Many of these above plus: ringing a bell and they freeze; a sing-song echo, ‘Stop, look and listen!’ and they repeat; doing actions while saying, ‘If you’re listening to me, touch your nose’ (ear, etc.); action combinations (e.g. touch one hand). -Melissa Lord

I use a lot of the ones above, mostly the whole brain teaching ‘Class, class / yes, yes.’ But my students’ favorite is probably when I say, ‘Tootsie Roll, Lollipop,’ and they say, ‘We’ve been talking; now let’s stop.’ It took a little practice, but my fourth graders love it! -Meghan Rackley

I scream, ‘QUIET! YOU’RE DRIVING ME CRAZY!’ …Only kidding. One more idea: At school assemblies, our principal shouts out, ‘BELUGA!’ The students clap their hands and arc them out (like a whale’s water spout) while saying, ‘Pssshhhh!’ -Erika Hansing Gentry

One that’s funny for a one time use is, ‘All the smart people look at me.’ 🙂 An adult did that once at a presentation, ‘All the good looking people look at me.’ -Susan Graham

Attention Signals

Got more to add? Please tell us with a comment!

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