Whether you’re a new or experienced teacher, strategies for getting student attention are an important part of your classroom management.
We have all been there, not having a suitable way to gain the attention of a rowdy class can really impact on the flow of the day!
You get more and more frustrated, the kids get louder! It’s a snowball effect!
What will work for you and your students is very different to what will work for the teacher next door! Therefore, it is always important to have a bank of ideas to use with your class!
I found mixing it up a bit kept students on their toes! If I used the same ‘clapping rhythm’ or ‘rhyme’ to get their attention, it became part of the background noise and they stopped reacting to it!
Here are some really clever ways to gain the attention of your class.


Use an interactive timer. Decide how much time you are going to allow your students to work on a particular task. Display the interactive timer on the board and inform the students when the timer has finished, they must move onto the next task or sit quietly with their hands on their head.
If the timer finishes and there are some students not moving on to the next task – you could give them a little reminder.

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.
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!
Attention-grabbing Phrases for the Classroom

Complete the Compound Word ⭐?

This idea is best suited to the early years, but they love it! The idea is the students must complete the compound word! You may like 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
Students in my class used to love having to come up with the other word in my compound word of the day!
Compound Words

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, I think it is important to mix this up a bit so that the students don’t become used to the sound.

Mirror Movement ✋

I used to just stand at the front of the class and do different movements, such as hands on head, finger on nose, both hands in the air, hands on shoulders etc. I would continue this until the whole class was copying my actions.
This was one of my most effective ways to gain the attention of a very noisy class.
With no noise, I was able to gain the attention of my class very quickly!

Clap and Repeat ?

The good old clap and repeat!
Some teachers love it, others don’t!
You can mix it up a bit if you like, you clap a pattern and the students need to repeat it! 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.
  • Stop right now…thank you very much!
  • Hakuna….matata!
I use to also simply sing – stop, look and listen! Kids would repeat!
They knew this meant to stop what they were doing, look at me and listen!

Written by Holly (Teach Starter)


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