Using Attention Getters as an Effective Tool for Classroom Management

For many teachers, classroom management can be one of the biggest obstacles to achieving success.


Without a toolbox of strategies to get students’ attention, raising your voice may feel like the only option when students are engaged in a loud activity or simply not meeting expectations. To avoid creating a negative classroom culture, which ultimately impedes learning, teachers facing new circumstances in this less than ideal school year, can employ these attention-getters.


Attention getters are a great classroom management tool! Whether students are busy working in groups, on class projects, or are just plain chatty, these attention getters are not only fun, but are an effective way to get your class re-focused, so you can give instructions.


The ideas listed are interactive. The teacher says the first phrase, and the students say the second. And remember, before using any of the attention getters, you’ll want to teach your students what to say and to practice responding.


*** = Sung to a certain tune. You can look it up on YouTube if you aren’t familiar with the tune.


  1. Macaroni and Cheese…Everybody freeze!
  2. Marco…Polo!
  3. Eeny Meeny…Miny Mo!
  4. Hands on the top…Everybody stop!
  5. Hocus Pocus…Everybody Focus!
  6. Waterfall, waterfall…. Shhhhh!
  7. One, two, three, eyes on me…One, two, eyes on you!
  8. Zip it, lock it…Put it in your pocket!
  9. “Class Class Class”… “Yes, Yes, Yes”
  10. Flat tire! … sshhhhhhhhh

Using attention-getters allows you to quickly refocus your students’ attention without losing learning time in the classroom. They are simple, often repetitive communication techniques used to capture the student’s attention. They should be quick and different from regular classroom procedures and noise.

They serve as oral, visual, or auditory cues that draw students’ attention to the teacher so that the teacher can convey a message. Commonly structured as “call and response,” students respond to these signals as confirmation that they are ready to listen. So, include these fun attention grabbers for kids in your classroom management tool kit. Most importantly, they work. Do you use it??  Share your attention getter with us!

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Robs Mesquita

Robs Mesquita is passionate about education, learning and technology. She has worked in English language teaching for over 27 years, with the last 10 dedicated exclusively to bilingual education, and is currently a Pedagogical Consultant at Santillana Educação/Richmond Idioma. She has a master's degree in Multilingualism, Language Policy and Bilingual Education and a specialization in Language Teaching via Technology, both from UFMG.

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