How do you manage a classroom?
How do you run stations or small groups?
How do you get students to pay attention for longer than two minutes?
All of these questions have been asked repeatedly by those who work with any level and any subject. I am frequently asked these questions in training and debriefing sessions since I specialize in small-group instruction in the classroom.
After modeling with a class I’ve just met right before the modeling lesson began, I’m often asked this question,
“How did you “get” control of the classroom so quickly?”
One of the key things I do is establish some type of specific routine that takes a total physical response to complete. I have used it for several decades now, with elementary, middle, junior, and high schools and had 100% success.
It’s called Attention Levels. I get a chair and a desk of my own in the classroom and I model the way each level looks, then I ask the students to model it back for me. After modeling each level, I hold up 1-4 fingers at a time and ask them to model the Attention Level that matches the number.
While I’m modeling the Attention Levels I share some personal story with the students. It’s usually funny and makes them laugh. This is my way of making myself “vulnerable” to the class by being willing to share something personal with them.
I give specific positive verbal praise of their appropriate levels. This public acknowledgement of appropriate behavior goes a long way and contributes to the positive peer pressure that is now surrounding each student. It’s also a way to MODEL-PRACTICE-REWARD to ensure that good habits are formed.
Within 5 minutes, the class is now a community of learners with me facilitating the learning.
After a recent request from some secondary schools, I asked amazing graphic designer, Jessica Henon Vaughn, to add illustrations for the Attention Level descriptions. Download your FREE Poster-Ready Copy of attention-levels-for-learning and begin using it today. It WORKS!