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3 Simple Tricks To Get Student Attention

"Magical" Attention Getters For Kindergarten and First-Grade

Getting  student attention requires just a few simple steps. Use these easy “MAGICAL” attention-getting techniques and your students will be hanging on your every word. (See the full YouTube Video at the bottom of this post.)

Getting Kindergarten And First-Grade Students’ Attention Step 1

The first thing you need to remember about getting and keeping student attention is that they are 5-7 years old. So you need to move things along in a fun and fast manner. You can’t expect them to focus and give you their attention for more than a few minutes.  If you can get them to focus and pay attention for 15 minutes then you are doing really, really REEEEAAAALLLLYYYYY good.

Attention Grabbers For Online Learning

If you need to know about student attention in the online classroom, check out these two videos.

The #1 Way To Get Your Students Attention

If you want to get your students attention there’s only one thing you have to do…  

Peak Their Curiosity in bright colors

And nothing peaks curiosity and wonder like magic. 

Here’s 3 magic tricks for you to do. Don’t worry they don’t require any talent. (Trust me if I can do it you can do it.)

Read to the end of this post and get a fourth bonus tip that requires zero materials, zero prep and is guaranteed to bring a smile to your students face and of course get their attention.

Disclaimer

Your students are going to get so excited and they are going to want to try all these “tricks” but be warned, as soon as they know how you did the trick they lose their curiosity and consequently their attention wanes. If they can’t figure out how you did it DON’T TELL THEM.

Floating Sight Words

This is fun and super easy and requires 3 simple materials that you have in your classroom. No need to make a Target Run (Unless you want to and I totally support you in that decision) Students are not only going to get hyped up and extra focused on the sight word they are going to be so engaged they aren’t going to want you to stop.

cut rubber band, sight-word and written on a yellow sticky note with a hole punched in the top and an open book ring

Materials Need

  • rubber band (cut so it’s straight)
  • ring
  • sight word on a sticky note or piece of paper

How-To

1.Write the sight-word on the sticky note or piece of paper. 

2.Place a hole in the paper and attach it to the ring.

3.Thread the ring onto the rubber band.

4.Bunch most of the rubber band in one hand and pinch to stretch a small piece with the other hand

Lower the hand where the rubber band is bunched up.

5. Then slowly (and secretly) release the rubber band allowing the ringed sight word to magically travel up the rubber band.

IT’S MAAAAAAGGGGGIIIICCCC!!!

gif of sight-word "here" traveling up a rubber band on a book ring

Take Advantage of the Extra Student Attention and Focus

Their eyes are going to be glued on the sight word. Now's the time to really look at it and talk about it. Take it off the ring and place it on the word wall or use it in the morning message. You’ve got a good 8 minutes of hyper focus…. What will you do with it?

Magic Tube

This one might not “trick” them for long but you can use it to create curiosity and amplify student attention even after they’ve figured it out.

Materials Need

Magic Tube

– 2 pieces of light cardstock

– tape

-skill cards to place, secretly, between the two tubes

  • Place one cylinder cardstock tube inside another
  • The inside tube is slightly smaller so that thin objects can be placed between the two cylinders

Cards used for the day's lesson (example. unscramble a sentence, put days of the week in order, sort capitals and lowercase letters, etc)

How-To

When your students aren’t watching, place the cards in between the cylinders. Show your students that there’s nothing in the tube and then Taaaa Daaaaa, pull the cards from the tube and use them for the lesson.

Take Advantage of the Extra Student Attention and Focus

This is one they will figure out but that’s okay. It will be fun to place this in a reading center or station and allow them to take turns with a partner being the magician. They can place the cards in the magic tube and then do the activity with them.  So model the activity with them and then place it at the station and let them practice the skill. Remind them that practicing also means reading. It’s going to become one of their favorite activities at station time.

Invisible Ball

This is a little trick that my sisters and I used to do for entertainment when we were young. (That just shows you how boring our childhood was. Haaa! Just kidding mom.)

I’ve adapted it so that it’s a powerhouse student attention getter for the kindergarten and first grade classroom. Here’s how it works.

Materials Need

Bag (lunch sack size works really good- the lighter the paper the better. Plastic also works but it's not the best) 

One option is to also use materials you want to reveal. In the video below I show you how to use this “trick” to practice changing cvc words to cvce words. but 

How-To

This is all about the invisible ball. 

Pretend that there is a very bouncy ball in your bag. Reach in and grab it and throw it and watch it bounce around the room like a rickoshaying bullet.

Then “catch” it with the bag by snapping with the bag between your fingers. It will make a sound and move the bag to make it appear you caught something.

Gif of teacher throwing an invisible ball and catching it with a paper bag

Take Advantage of the Extra Student Attention and Focus

This is super fun for introducing vocabulary. Just “throw” the ball and catch it. “Read” the word that’s on the ball. Copy the word onto your whiteboard or wherever you are recording the new vocabulary words on for future reference. 

It’s also fun to read the vocabulary word out loud to students and ask them what it means to have them use it in a sentence.

Bonus Attention Grabber

gif teacher holds hands infront with one finger up on one hand. she quickly taps the sides of her hands together to "magically" reveal that the hand now has two fingers up. She keeps tapping each time to reveal another finger.

This one is just plain silly but it is tried and true and needs no prep or materials. I used to do it when my students would be in line waiting on picture day (aka the worst day of the year) or anytime we had a few minutes and they were extra excited or anxious.

Because this one is hard to explain I’m going to let this video do the talking. Have fun with it.  Keep them curious, keep it fun and playful. Remember having fun and getting them curious is the best way to open up their brain and make it ready for learning. You are actually accelerating their learning. 

Can you say BEST TEACHER EVER!!!! Well your students are going to be chanting it. (especially if you lead the cheer… which is totally ok)

Check out the YouTube Video

Summary: 3 (I mean 4) Student Attention Getters

Tell me below how which “magic” trick you will use in your classroom. 

Keep being your amazing and magical self.

See you soon. God Bless!!

Student Attention Getter of the floating sight-word demonstrated

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Angie K

Angie K

I love to help teachers create an amazing teacher life.
I've taught for 25+ years and I want to help you find joy and energy in each day.

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