Attention Getters


All Set?

Simply say to the students in a loud voice “All set?” They answer, “You bet.”  (Beth)

Alligator, Alligator

To get students’ attention loudly say “alligator, alligator” the kids reply “CHOMP” as they slap their hands like an alligator mouth. (Ruthie)

Attention Gaining Strategies

Four ways to gain the attention of the class.

  • When you’re within hearing range of a few children, say in a normal-level voice, “if you can hear me, clap once, ” “if you can hear me, clap twice,” etc… usually I have the whole class’s attention by the 4th time or so… sometimes I’ll throw in a wierd direction like “if you can hear me, touch your nose…” the kids enjoy it and it works pretty well.
  • I’ve also seen teachers who will do a clapping pattern and the kids copy… again, this gets them paying attention quickly… something with clapping seems to get kid’s attention fast.
  • One of the teachers I student taught with had a little bell she’d ring to get their attention. Simple solution.
  • Another one I’ve seen is simply saying “1-2-3 Eyes on me.” You have to be a little louder, but it usually works… or simply counting “1, 2, 3, etc” really slowly, but loud enough that they can hear you.

(clarnet73, Originally posted at the Discussion Forums)

Attention Getters

I use a stirring drum to get the attention in my classroom. I got it through a web site called It is $20 but does the trick every time, I will not teach a day without it. My own 7 and 11 year old love it too. It is a peaceful little musical nopise but they stop what they are doing and come to the circle time. We use it when we have guests and it hushes the entire crowd, even students who do not have it in their classroom all the time. It saves i=on the voice and can be painted or stained. (Robin Calhoun)


I have a battery operated doorbell that I push when I need the student’s attention. It chimes six times and allows them that time to hear and respond. You plug in the chime part into the wall and can walk around with the part that you push, having it at your fingertips at all times. You can buy them anywhere, Home Depot, Walmart, etc.   (Marly Parker)


When I want students attention, I simply say “ears”; to which the students reply in unison “open sir”. They also know that they are to be facing me, not talking, and listening for further instruction. The students enjoy this, because they get to speak in unison, and those not responding are easily identified.  Grade Level(s): 6-8  (Art F.)

Finding Nemo Attention Getter

Anyone remember the scene in Finding Nemo when Nemo gets initiated into the order of the fish tank?? This one came from a fourth grade teacher. #1 When students are talking too much I quietly say, “shark bait…” Those that hear me reply: “Brew ha-ha!” and we repeat this as many times as it takes for the rest of the class to get in on the cheer. We end it by getting quieter and quieter until they aren’t talking at all. The kids like the “secret code” and it gets their attention without raising my blood pressure from frustration.  (Munchkin)

Give Me 5

Something that I use in my classroom is “give me 5.” All I have to do is hold up one of my hands with palm facing out like a stop sign. The fingers represent…

  1. Stop talking
  2. Back against the chair
  3. Feet on the floor
  4. Hands in lap/on desk
  5. Eyes on the teacher

You don’t have to say anything and the kids are immediately “fixing” themselves. If you teach this at the beginning of the year when you teach your standard procedures the kids will pick it up in no time.  (Carla, Originally posted at the Discussion Forums)


GIVE ME 5! at our school means, “STOP AND LOOK AT ME!” five simple words that everyone at our school can understand. We practice this in the classroom, lunch room, assemblies, etc. We all use the same command so that anyone who might be in charge of a class or group of children can gain their attention immediately.  (Marlene Culpepper, Visually Impaired K-12 Teacher)

Great Attention Getter

When you need your grade-schoolers attention say in a loud voice: “One, Two, Three – eyes on ME!” Teach them to immediately respond in unison with a loud: “One, two – eyes on YOU!” After their response they should know to be quiet and attentive. Follow up can be verbal: “I see Jailen’s eyes… I see Brianna’s eyes…” etc. Thanks for the tip Mrs. Rorick! =)   (Tim Holtzclaw)

If you hear me….

I learned this from another wonderful teacher. It works great K-2. When I want their attention, I will say “If you hear me clap your hands.” Those that didn’t hear me will stop to see why they are clapping. Then I will add to it, “If you hear me snap your fingers, wiggle your nose, or wink, etc.”  (Missy Locke)

May I have your attention please?

I went to a workshop and the presenter used this to get our attention. I use it with my first graders, and it is amazing how well it works. All I say is “May I have your attention please?” with my hand raised. They have to raise their hand and stop talking. As soon as I say it, I start counting. They know that I should stop at 3, but sometimes I have to count longer. The quiet ones will get on to the people that made me go over 3. It works wonders!


Whenever I need my middle school students’ attention, or they are getting too noisy, I have a gorilla that when you push his paw, it plays a song (20 seconds long) After 3 monkey plays, then they are no longer able to do the “activity” and must go back to individual work. I got the monkey at Target. (Laura Morris)

More Attention Getters
(czacza, Originally posted at the Discussion Forums)

  •  flick the lights
  • clap a pattern
  • sing a song
  • rain stick
  • chimes/bells
  • Give me 5 signal (eyes on speaker, mouth closed, ears listening, hands still, feet still- kids hold up high 5 sign)
  • Stop, look and listen
  • I can see that (name) is ready because (s)he’s looking at me….
  • peace sign
  • whisper
  • The ‘Eye’


Kim Smead gets the attention of students and nearby adults by saying, “Salami!” This is the signal for Stop and Listen to Me. A funny word, but it works!  (Kim Smead, First)

5 Responses to Attention Getters

  1. Gamila September 2, 2011 at 1:35 am #

    Thank you for a wonderful ideas, by the way Salam is arabic word and it meaning PEACE in Arabic

  2. Amy January 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    When I want children to stop making noise and be quiet during story time I say “FINGERS ON LIPS, HANDS ON HEADS!” and all the ones who have been paying attention will do it immediately, everyone else who is still talking comes to realise everyone else is paying attention except them and everyone else has their finger on their lip and their hand on their head so they look a little bit silly if they are the last ones to do it.

    I will point out, “Morgan’s doing it well done, Jazmine’s doing it well done, Kasper is doing it well done” etc until everyone is paying attention

    I works a treat and it’s something my primary school teachers used to do.

  3. Sarah February 27, 2012 at 1:10 am #

    I love this website!!

    I tried something new with my 5th graders last week. I said the first part of a song that they all have been singing for months; after I said the first part aloud they repeated the rest of the song in unison.

    It was cheesy for the group I had, but it worked. [=

  4. Katie Ball April 5, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    To get students’ attention, I teach them “Class/Yes” from Whole Brain Teaching. I say “Class, class” – sometimes very quickly, sometimes slllloooowwwwly, sometimes in a high-pitch, sometimes I sing it – and the students respond “Yes, yes!” in the voice I used. It usually gets their attention!

    When I need students to do something in Xminutes or seconds, I put up an online stopwatch on the SmartBoard and let the countdown speak for itself.

  5. Erica May 2, 2012 at 2:46 am #

    I have a marked square on the floor and when I go to this spot! the kids know that I want thier attendtion. It stops me yelling and using my voice. To make it more funnier I time them to see how long it takes them for everyone to look at me.

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