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Crowd-Sourced Attention Prompts for the Elementary Classroom

I bet you have some regular call-and-response attention prompts that you use in your classroom.

You know, when the kids are getting chatty and you need to get their attention back on you? Or, when you are switching gears from group work time back to instruction. These come in handy because they are a way to quickly engage students and get their attention back on you.

However, sometimes students can get tired of using the same ones over and over… and when that happens, it can be time to freshen things up. By teaching your students some new attention prompts, they’ll be excited to use them!

The good news is… I’ve already compiled a HUGE list of attention prompts from my followers on my email list. I also asked the question on my Instagram and my Facebook Page. (Be sure to follow me on those platforms so you can join in on our future conversations!) I was overwhelmed by all the amazing responses I got! These ideas are clever AND fun, and are bound to be a huge hit in your classroom, too.

All that is left to do is choose your favorites from the list, and teach them to your class! You can also use this list to start your next school year with some fun, and new, attention prompts. (Note: This post contains affiliate links. See disclaimer.)

So… here we go!

 

  • Teacher: Oooh… it’s cold in here!  Students:  There must be some learnin’ in the atmosphere! –LeAnn M.
  • Teacher: Tootsie Roll, Lollipop Students: We’ve been talking, now we stop -Arlene O. 
  • Teacher: Waterfall Students: Shhhhhh ( while students make waterfall movement with fingers) -Melissa C.
  • Teacher: Hi ho, hi ho…. Students: It’s off to work we go. (My kids like to change the responses. Example: Hi ho, hi ho…. It’s off to read we go.).  -Aileen S.
  • Teacher: Pumpkin pie Students: Oh ,my! (November) -Aileen S.
  • Teacher: Goodness gracious Students: Great balls of fire! -Aileen S.
  • Teacher: Hocus, pocus Students: Everybody focus! -Crystal G.
  • Teacher: Sponge Bob Students: Square pants –Katy D.
  • Teacher: Please don’t make me lose my mind. Students: Up in here. Up in here. -Alissa Straus
  • Teacher: Shark Bait Students: Oh ha ha –Kelsey D.
  • Teacher: Hey! Kids: Ho!  All together: Let’s go! –Danielle D.
  • I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan, which my students quickly figured out- I use Teacher: Abbra, Students: Cadabbra -Lauren C.
  • Teacher: 3, 2, 1, STOP! Students: Collaborate and Listen! –Brenna S.
  • Teacher: Lions and tigers and bears Students: Oh, my! –Madolynn H.
  • I was so tired of straining my voice with attention getters and fifth graders, that I invested in a wireless doorbell. I bought one with two different buttons. One is for attention getting, one is for transitions. That attention getting one is just a chime that dings twice. The transition one is a little song that plays twice. I think it cost right around $20, but the saving of my voice is priceless! –Jennifer H



  • Teacher: Zip it, lock it Students: Put it in your pocket. –Laurie E.
  • Teacher: 1,2,3 Eyes on me Students: 1,2 Eyes on you and mouths closed so we can hear you too. –Angel F.
  • Teacher: Ready to Rock. Students: Ready to Roll. –Megan B
  • Teacher: Hey hey, oh oh Students: Everybody ready to go –Kristi
  • Teacher: Ready, set Students: You bet!  –Lacey L.
  • The attention prompt that has never failed in my classroom is: “if you can hear my voice do this” while doing something like putting my hands on my head. I continue this 2-3 times until I have full attention. The best part about this attention prompt is that it forces students to look at me in order to know what action to do! –Alyssa P
  • My favorite (and my students’ fav) attention response is: Bum, bada bum bum…bum, bum but on the last 2 tones make 2 hand motions to be copied by the class.  Students have the early seconds of the chant to get quiet, attend, turn towards the teacher to catch the hand motion/body part touched so they can replicate.  For example I might tap one should and then the other shoulder, or I might put one hand on my waist and one hand behind my back. If not everyone responds on the first chant, I say, “I caught some people”, be ready to try again.  Then I repeat the chant but do a different hand motion. –Stephanie J.
  • Teacher: Show up! Students: And shine! -Staycie L.
  • For a quick in-class attention getter, I simply say “1, 2, 3, Freeze!” It works every time. –Michelle F.
  • Turning lights down –Tamera P.
  • Teacher: ABC Students: 123 -Susan R.
  • Teacher: Hello Students: Goodbye –Susan R.
  • Teacher: Chicka Chicka! Students: Boom, Boom! -Braley M.
  • I start to sing our little school wide rules song. The children join in the song. Usually by the time we finish the song, I have everyone’s attention.–Sharon S.
  •  One easy one (and a fave of mine) is to clap out the beat – clap clap clap-clap clap & students return- CLAP CLAP. –Maria G.
  • With primary, I say, “freeze and squeeze!” and they freeze and put their hands on their heads or give themselves a hug. –Sarah S.
  • This year, I purchased a xylophone, an inexpensive one, for the sole use of gaining my middle schoolers attention. I do lots of pair-shares and activities which result in a sometimes noisy classroom as my middle schoolers embark on a competition to see who can talk the loudest, lol! So, when the noise gets too loud, I pick up my little stick and begin playing the different scales of the xylophone.  The kids know that by the time I stop playing, the room should be quiet. Guess what?  It actually works very well with my kiddos!!  I like it much better than shouting out phrases. -Janet G.

  • Teacher: Peanut butter Students: Jelly time! –Michelle T
  • Teacher: ARE YOU READY KIDS? Students:  AYE AYE CAPTIAN -Tia B.
  • Teacher: Raise the roof Students: (kids raise their hands into the air and) woop woop -Crystal P.
  • Teacher: Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Students: Sponge Bob Square Pants. –Crystal P.
  • Teacher: Mona Students: Lisa –Marge B.
  • Teacher: Hakuna Students: Matata -Lacy C
  • Teacher: Eeny, meeny Students: Miny, mo -Lacy C.
  • Teacher: Chicken Students: Nugget –Lacy C
  • Teacher: Peanut Butter Students: jelly –Susan B
  • “May I have your attention please?”–Jarrah
  • Teacher: Clase, clase Students: Si, Si. –Angelica
  • Teacher: S-T-O-P Students: Stop (and they stop, look, and listen!) –Missy S.
  • Teacher: Ready to rock? Students: Ready to roll –Andrea B.
  • Teacher: 3,2,1 Students: All talking is done. -Suzanne C.
  • Teacher: Freeze like a popsicle Students: Freeze with their hands touching over their head
  • Teacher: Hey Yo   Students: What’s Up –Ashley D.
  • Listen, Linda! I subbed for a 6th grade class last semester and my students were all about memes and YouTube. The video they had discovered was this I used this phrase whenever I needed to refocus their attention.   –Kristi (Note: You can use any popular meme or YouTube video your kids are talking about as an attention prompt! The students LOVE this!)

  • Teacher: Red Robin Students: Yum!  -Tommie B.
  • Teacher: I have directions! Class: North, south, east, or west? -Deanne S.
  • Teacher: Meanwhile… Students: Back at the ranch! -Deanne S.
  • Teacher: Knock, knock! Students: Who’s there? –Liz K.
  • Use your school mascot as an attention prompt! “I like using our school name with mascot as a call and response. So, I say Pershing (clap 2 x) and my students respond Tigers (clap 2x)” -Natalie C. 
  • I also  like using math facts. [as a call and response] I let students know the specific fact that we’ll be using. Difficult facts are good ones to use and then you can switch the facts and answers when you feel they’re ready!) -Natalie C. 
  • I ring a chime – the response is quiet with a finger over their mouth using one hand, and the other hand is raised to acknowledge -Jennifer W.
  • I know it sounds weird but my attention getter is a dog clicker. Hey! It works! -Nora A. 
  • My favorite is Class – Class, Yes-Yes because I love using different voices (cartoon characters, cranky lady, etc.), making it a song (opera anyone?) and changing up the rhythm (they love hearing it in slow-mo). It’s always fresh that way, but it’s also consistent and quick. -Cindy
  • Teacher: Take it back! Students: Take it waaaaaayyyy back! Teacher can change the volume, voice, speed, etc. -Kimberly C.
  • Teacher: ba da ba ba ba (sings McDonalds jingle) Students: I’m lovin’ it! (sings back jingle) -Kimberly C.
  • Teacher: Holy moly Students: Guacamole -Debbie K.
  • Teacher: Mac and cheese Students: Everybody freeze -Debbie K.
  • Teacher: To infinity… Students: And beyond! -Debbie K.
  • Teacher: What’s up? Students: It’s all good! -Verna J.
  • Teacher: It’s… Students: Thriller time! -Verna J
  • I’ll say “Spotlight on me” in a loud voice (and sometimes I strike a pose). Students stop what they are doing and pantomime turning a spotlight in my direction. This guarantees that all eyes are on me.  -Leslie S.
  • Teacher: Hear ye, hear ye Students: All eyes on the Queen! -Angela R.
  • Teacher: Romeo Students: Juliet! -Mia C.
  • My other one is where I use the press style service bell. When I ring it, the class replies with “Service Please!” -Mia C.
  • I use several attention prompts, however, my favorite is my chime. It’s such a calming sound and my students respond so quickly to its sound when I ring it. -Stephanie M. 
  • Use football teams or school mascots -Dodie C.
  • I like to use this when students are talking,  “If you can hear clap once…If you can hear me clap twice….”  It never fails to work and I whisper when I do it because then that brings their noise level down and gets them calm. -Jennifer W. 
  • Teacher: Uh oh Students: Spaghetti oh -Jeanine C.
  • Teacher: Squeezed Students: …in the middle -Jeanine C.
  • I bought a large kazoo and play some simple  ditties as attention-getting prompts. -Jo R. 
  • Mannequin challenge! I don’t use it often, but I pick up my phone, turn on the video and call “Mannequin challenge!” then make a quick video of them — I stitch together the videos and the kids find them hilarious to watch later. -Pam H. 
  • My favorite attention getter is I say” I can make your hands clap” and they clap their hands to the rhythm that matches that song. -Chelsey W. 

    • Teacher: May I go on? Students: Please do -Amy B.
    • Teacher: Ready to listen? Students: Ready to learn –Amy B.
    • The last one I use is counting down to 5. If they are ready we make rockets with our hands and blast off. -Lori A.
    • Teacher: 1,2,3 All Eyes on Me Students: 1,2 Eyes on You -Brooke T.
    • Do a series of claps and have them copy -Jennifer W.
    • I use rhythmic clapping… clap a beat and they repeat.  Or I start clapping the drum riff from We will rock you. -Lisa W.
    • I freeze in a weird pose. I may put my hands on my head or straight up in the air. This lets my students know to freeze and mimic my pose. This empties their hands and has them to stand ready to move or listen for instructions without a distraction in hand.  -Kristy W.
    • Teacher: “Everybody clap your hands” Kids: all clap five times ( usually to the same melody as the song.)It’s super fast and makes the kids stop what they are doing to clap. -Heather S. 
    • The prompt that works the best for me is when I “sing” (using dun dun dun dun dun) the tune for Skunk in the Barnyard, and they reply with the “Pe-yew” part (dun dun!). I’m having a hard time describing it without the tune itself! Anyway, once they respond, they know to pay attention for the instructions that are coming. -Amanda K
    •  We are a Leader in Me school, so we use the tag line: Great happens here. Followed with one clap. I will say, “Great happens…” and the kids respond with “here”. CLAP -Susan B.
    • 5, 4, 3, eyes  on me…2, 1, (let’s get done!; let’s have some fun!; let’s run! Or anything that rhymes with “one”). –Rose W.
    • “If you can hear my voice, clap once. If you can hear my voice, clap twice.” Sometimes I will switch the numbers to see if students are really listening. –Kristy H.
    • This one has always worked for me. I start by raising my hand and holding up five fingers. The kids who are paying attention raise their hands. I count down from 5. When all students have their hands raised, we continue. The count down trick was something I learned from my mother growing up. She always counted down, never up. Because when counting up, you can continue for ever, but the countdown limits their time. For some activities I adjust time by using 3, 5, or 10 seconds. –Sadie F.
    • I like to do a countdown in a foreign language…I use either Vietnamese (my mom is from Vietnam) or German.  They love listening to an unknown language and by the end of the year have even learned a few numbers!  -Kimberly M.
    • Teacher: Mischief Students: Managed (from Harry Potter) -Vanessa T. 
    • Teacher: Eyes are looking Students: Ears are listening, brain is thinking. -Stephanie M.
    • Teacher: Too legit Students: Too legit to quit. -Denae L.
    • Teacher: Scooby Dooby Doo Students: Where are you? -Jane H.

 

So many great ideas from so many teachers! I hope this list gives you some new ideas to try in your classroom. I’d love to hear how they go! Let me know in the comments, and tell me what YOUR favorite attention prompts are, too!

And last, but certainly not least, be sure to sign up for our free resource library for editable sub binder forms, sub plan lessons, seating chart pages and more to help you get organized as well! I will also be adding a printable list of these call-and-response attention prompts to the library soon, and if you sign up you’ll be notified when it is ready. If you’ve already signed up, click here to go to the library now and enter the password that you received in your email.


Check out these other blog posts about classroom organization & classroom management!

 

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