Use visual reminders of your expectations during online class meets or in-person learning. Examples might include an ear to remind students to listen quietly, eyes to remind them to watch closely, or a picture of a pencil to remind them to take notes during a presentation.
Utilize attention getters to get young learners on track and ready to focus on your directions. Try some of these:
Teacher: "All set?"
Students: "You bet!"
Teacher: "Zip it, lock it."
Students: "Put it in your pocket."
Teacher: "Tootsie roll, lollipop"
Students: "We were talking, so now we'll stop."
Teacher: "1, 2, 3, eyes on me!"
Students: "1, 2, eyes on you!"
Teacher: "Hocus, Pocus."
Students: "Everybody focus!"
Repeating a mantra can help students to feel empowered and confident. Brainstorm together to create a class mantra. Here is an example: "I am a kind, open-minded, hard-working learner and I am going to have an amazing day."
Assign classroom jobs to promote responsibility, respect, and kindness. Examples might include an errand runner, pencil patrol, and materials manager. Create jobs that will work well for your learning space and needs. Rotate them consistently, on a daily or weekly basis.
Students work at varying paces. Some will finish certain goals well before others. Have a plan in place for students so they know what to do next as their classmates are still working. Early finisher folders, designated technology learning tools, and other educational opportunities can be perfect and productive early finisher activities.
Students love to be rewarded for their hard work and attentiveness. Verbal praise and smiles can go a long way. Consider using a whole class reward system to motivate and help keep all learners on task in order to promote teamwork and goal setting principles. Reward ideas might include a dance party, eating lunch in the classroom or outside, dress up day, an art party, a book swap, extra playground time, or a class movie. These are all simple ideas that can be extremely effective. Individual rewards are important too. Stickers, eating lunch with a favorite friend, a no shoes/slippers pass, extra screen time on a favorite school app, time in the reading corner, or a prize from a treasure box are some motivating ideas that students love also.