It is Thursday, that means the week is almost over! I'm about to head out to my students' spring concert but I wanted to link up with Joy in the Journey and Compassionate Teacher for "Tricks of the Trade" Thursday.
This weeks topic is on attention-getters and transitions. At this point in the year, I feel like I need to stand on my head to keep my kiddos attention. Anyone else feeling that way today? Anyway...on to the tip.
One thing that I have found works well for me and my kiddos when we are sharing in a small group is what my kids have called "silent count-down." As I shared yesterday I like to give my kiddos time to share their writing. I also like to give them time to give "book talks" to a friend. I hate to cut the kids off and have them stop talking mid-sentence, so I have started using this strategy.
If the kids have designated amount of share time at the end of the lesson I will give them a half way warning (so they know to allow the other student to talk if they haven't already.) Then in the last 30 seconds I begin my silent count-down. I hold my hand up over my head showing 5 fingers. I walk silently around the room and every 5 seconds I put down one finger. This gives the students a silent 30 second warning that they need to finish their sentence so they can get back to their seat. They know (and we have practiced) that they need to be silent and back in their seat by the time all of my fingers are down.
It only takes a few kids to see me and they normally whisper to their partner "she's counting down." They quickly finish, clean up, and head to their seats. I love it because I'm not cutting them off mid-sentence, so they feel valued, but it isn't taking forever for us to wrap-up our share time.
What do you do to grab your kids attention or to help with transitions?