Attention Getters For Classroom Use That Focus Students Quickly

When you’re ready for students to listen, use attention getters in your classroom to prompt them to quickly take notice. 

Attention getters serve as oral, visual, or auditory cues that draw students’ focus to the teacher so that she can deliver a message. Commonly structured as “call and response”, learners respond to these signals as confirmation that they’re ready to listen. 

As key components of a good classroom management plan, attention getters are essential.

In this post, you’ll find several examples of attention getters for classroom use that you can use with elementary, middle, or high school learners. 

Why Use Attention Getters in the Classroom?

Even if you have well-behaved learners, you still need a way to grab their attention at a moment’s notice without raising your voice. 

You need to get their attention not only in the classroom but also after an assembly or recess.

Attention Getters for Classroom Use

Following is a must-have list of attention getters for classroom use. Pencil in a few into your lesson plan this week. 

Oral Attention Getter Examples

With oral attention getters, the teacher states the first part of the phrase while students chime in with the second half. 

  • 1-2-3, Eyes On Me (Teacher)…1-2, Eyes On You (Students)
  • 1-2-3 (Teacher)…Eyes On Me (Learners)
  • 3-2-1 (Teacher)…Blast Off! (Students)
  • A-B-C (Teacher)…Easy As 1-2-3 (Students)
  • A Hush Fell Over the Room (Teacher) … Shhhhhh! (Learners)
  • All Set (Teacher)…You Bet (Students)
  • Alligator, Alligator (Teacher)…CHOMP! (Students)
  • Banana (Teacher)…Split! (Students)
  • Can I Get a (Teacher)…WHOOP! WHOOP!? (Students)
  • Chicka, Chicka (Teacher)…Boom! Boom! (Learners)
  • Chugga, Chugga (Teacher)…Choo! Choo! (Students)
  • Clap Your Hands, Stomp Your Feet (teacher) …We Need Our Bottoms In the Seat (Students)
  • Class, Class, Class (Teacher)…Yes, Yes, Yes (Students)
  • Classity, Class, Class (Teacher)…Yesity, Yes, Yes (Students)
  • Crystal (Teacher) … Clear (Students)
  • Eeny Meeny (Teacher) … Miny Mo! (Students)
  • Everybody In the House (Teacher)…Is As Quiet As a Mouse (Students)
  • Eyes Up (Teacher)…Voices Off (Students)
  • Finger Near Your Hips (Teacher)…Finger On Our Lips (Learners)
  • Flat Tire (Teacher)…Shhhhhh! (Students)
  • Goodness Gracious (Teacher)…Great Balls of Fire (Students)
  • Hakuna (Teacher)…Matata (Students) *Lion King Film reference
  • Hands On Top (Teacher)…Everybody Stop (Students)
  • Hear Ye, Hear Ye (Teachers)…All Eyes on the Queen/King (Students)
  • Hocus Pocus (Teacher) … Everybody Focus (Students)
  • Hot Fudge (Teacher)…Sundae (Learners)
  • Hush (Teacher) …. Shhhhhh! (Students)
  • I’m Talking (Teacher)…I’m Listening (Students)
  • Ice Cream (Teachers)…With Sprinkles (Students)
  • Knock, Knock (Teacher)…Who’s There? (Students)
  • Let Me Hear You Say “Oh Ye-ah”!… OH YE-AH! (Learners)
  • Let’s Rock (Teacher) … And Roll (Learners)
  • Macaroni and Cheese (Teacher)…Everybody Freeze (Students)
  • Marco (Teacher)…Polo (Students)
  • May the Force (Teacher)…Be With You (Students)
  • Mona (Teacher)…Lisa (Learners)
  • Mouths (Teacher)…Closed (Students)…Ears (Teacher)…Open (Students)
  • Mr. Belton is Talking, And You Are (Teacher)…Not! (Students)
  • Oh Me (Teacher)…Oh My (Students)
  • No Bees, No Honey (Teacher)…No Work, No Money (Students)
  • On Your Feet (Teacher)…Find Your Seat (Students) *Used when rotating centers or returning to seats after floor time
  • One, Two (Teacher)…Eyes On You (Students)
  • Parlez-vous Français? (Teacher)…Oui, Oui, Oui (Students)
  • Peanut…Peanut Butter (Teacher)…With Jelly (Learners)
  • Piece of Pie (Teacher)… Piece of Cake (Students)
  • ¿Qué te pasa calabaza? (Teacher)…Nada Nada Limonada (Students)
  • Quiet On the Set (Teacher)…Action! (Students)
  • Ready, Set? (Teacher)…You Bet! (Students)
  • Ready to Listen? (Teacher)…Ready to Learn! (Students)
  • Ready to Rock? (Teacher)…Ready to Roll! (Students)
  • Roly-Poly (Teacher)…Guacamole (Students)
  • Salami (Teacher)…On Rye (Students)
  • Scooby Dooby Doo (Teacher)…Where Are You? (Students)
  • Self (Teacher)…Control (Students)
  • SpongeBob (Teacher)…Square Pants (Learners)
  • Stop (Teacher)…Collaborate and Listen (Students)  *Ice Ice Baby song reference
  • Surf’s Up (Teacher) … Shhhhhh! (Students)
  • Three, Two, One (Teacher)… Talking Is Done (Students)
  • To Infinity (Teacher)… And Beyond (Students)
  • Tootsie Roll, Lollipop (Teacher)…We’ve Been Talking, Now Let’s Stop (Students)
  • ¡Viva (Teacher)…Jesús! (Students) *Great for Christian schools
  • We are Listening (Teacher)…All the Time (Students)
  • When I Say Peace, You Say Quiet. Peace (Teacher)…Quiet! (Learners)
  • When the Hand Goes Up (Teacher)…The Mouth Goes Shut (Students)
  • WWW Dot (Teacher)…Zip It Dot Com (Learners)
  • Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah (Teacher)…Zip-A-Dee-Ay (Students)
  • Zip It, Lock It (Teacher)…Put It In Your Pocket (Students)

Related: Visit the classroom management resources page for more great ideas on maintaining structure. 

Auditory Attention Getters

The following attention getters are a variation of the oral call-and-response phrases above. 

Instead of simply responding with a phrase, students complete a specific action. 

  • “If you can hear my voice, clap once.” (Teacher) “If you can hear my voice, clap twice.” (Teacher). If desired, create patterns of claps and snaps to make things more interesting and/or to increase their attention.
  • Give Me Three (Teacher)…*Students must 1) Stop, 2) Look, and 3) Listen
  • “If you can hear me, touch your nose. If you can hear me, put your hands on your head. If you can hear me, wink.” Switch up body parts.
  • Clap the Answer, 2+2 (Teachers)…*Students clap the correct number of times; substitute any basic math fact
  • “Point at me if you’re not talking”. *Wait for all students to point at you.
  • Recite or play a short song. When it’s finished, all students should be actively focused on you.
  • Sound a timer, wind chime, bell, wireless doorbell, or rainstick.
  • If you’re a music teacher or have access to a musical instrument, play a few notes. At the end, students should be focused and ready to listen. 

Visual Attention Getter Examples

When you need to grab kids’ focus without the noise, use the following visual attention getters for classroom use. 

They’re perfect for use while in the library, at assemblies, or during field trips.

  • Find a crazy hat. When you put it on your head, the children know it’s time to stop and listen.
  • When you put on sunglasses or any type of “special” glasses, learners focus their attention towards you. 
  • Hold up cue cards, each with a note like, “Focus Now.” or “Eyes On Me.”
  • Simply raise your hand, and wait for each child to do the same. 
  • Without warning, whisper to a student that you want to see how long it will take for everyone to notice them whispering. Out of curiosity, the other kids will begin to take notice and pay attention as they’ll want to know what’s being said. You’ll have the class focused in no time!
  • Flick the lights until you’ve gained everyone’s attention. 
  • Show a sign in the shape and color of a “stop sign”. 
  • Wave a wand or flag. 
  • Hold up the peace sign using your fingers. Students complete the same action, signaling that they are ready to listen. 

Creative Attention Getters

Who says you can’t get creative with your attention getters? The following examples make grabbing kids’ attention a bit more exciting.

  • Rev up school spirit by using mascots or local sports teams. Examples: Go (Teacher)…Jaguars! (Students) or Jaguar (Teacher)…Pride! (Students)
  • Incorporate foods. Examples: Pop (Teacher)…Corn! (Learners) or Milk (Teacher)…Shake! (Students). The possibilities are endless! 
  • Consider regional and/or local expressions. Example: Mardi (Teacher)…Gras (Students)
  • Make things simple with seasonal attention getters. Examples: Merry (Teacher)…Christmas (Students), Gobble (Teacher)…Gobble! (Learners), Happy (Teacher)…Halloween (Learners), April (Teacher)…Fools (Students)
  • Learn or review academic concepts such as states and capitals. Examples: Louisiana (Teacher)…Baton Rouge (Students), Texas (Teacher)…Austin (Learners). Use content based on your state’s grade-level teaching objectives.
  • Reinforce a growth mindset. Examples: We Are (Teacher)…Rock Stars! (Students), Never (Teacher)…Give Up! (Students), We Are (Teacher)…Smart! (Learners)

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Attention Getters in Your Classroom

  • Avoid using too many attention getters within a short time frame. Ideally, select a handful that you’d like to use most often. Switch things up if you/the kids become bored with a particular one or if you see that a specific one is no longer effective.
  • Review and practice your chosen attention getters at the beginning of the school year. Doing so sets up the expectations of when and how they’re used. Additionally, within your substitute plans, recommend a couple of signal cues that may be helpful for the substitute to use throughout the day. 
  • Though consistency is important, consider switching your attention getters every quarter or semester in order to keep your kids focused. 

Your Students Will Love These Attention Getters

Redirect learners’ focus using ideas from this list of fun attention getters for classroom use. 

Whether you teach elementary kids, middle or high schoolers, you’re all set with this healthy set of attention getters for kids.