27 Attention-Getters For Quieting A Noisy Classroom

There are a lot of kids and only one of you. When you need your students quiet, focused and ready to learn, you better have a plan to get there. And it doesn’t hurt to bring your sense of humor. We asked our Facebook community and Reddit to share their favorite attention grabbers. These are our 27 favorites.

1. When I was student-teaching, the first-grade class had a pirate theme. When we needed their attention, we would say “Crew?” and they would respond “Aye, aye, captain!” —swimmer714

2. I say, “Alright, stop.” And my students answer, “Collaborate and listen!” It’s a line from a Vanilla Ice song. At the beginning of the year, I show my classes the video: “Ice, Ice Baby.” My students love this! —Kristin Z.

3. My first year, the students were really into “Doctor Who” so I would say “Allons-y!” and they would reply “GERONIMO!” This year, I may go with something Disney-themed like “Do you wanna build a snowman?”/”It doesn’t have to be a snowman!” —Nikolas T.

4. I start talking very quietly to a student or two who are focused. Everyone else stops talking because they realize they have no idea what I am saying to them. Usually I say something like “thank you for your focus and attention.” —Theresa W.

5. The teacher I am paired with uses two phrases. She says “class,” and they respond “yes.” She also says “peanut butter,” and they respond “jelly time.” —Jennifer S.

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6. My little ones love “Hocus Pocus/Everybody focus.” We bring our hands to our eyes and look through them like binoculars! —Cheri B.

7. One call-and-response I use that my second graders love: Me: “Shark bait.” Students: “Hoo ha ha.” You have to love “Finding Nemo” to know that one. —Diana B.

8. Despite the fact that I have eighth graders, I say “Winner, winner” and they respond “Chicken dinner.” It works. —Stacey B.

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9. I say “To infinity!” and they respond “And beyond!” —Heidi S.

10. Variety is the key. You don’t want them to start tuning you out. I sing “Tootsie roll, lollipop” and they respond “we’ve been talking, now we stop” and freeze. I do a few different call-and-response chants but that’s the most popular. —Angelica G.

11. I use a small music box. I wind the music box at the beginning of each day. When my students get noisy or off-task, the music goes on. If the box runs out before the end of the day, a treat is taken away. We have NEVER run out of music. —Sherry P.

12. I say “Mac and cheese!” The kids say: “Everybody freeze!” —Rebecca G.

13. I teach high school, so I simply say, “You are wasting your own time.” This somehow always gets their attention! —Paula W.

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14. I start speaking to my middle schoolers in French. I’m a reading teacher. It gets them every time. —Casey F.

15. I use a rain stick. (If you don’t have one, you can make one easily with a cardboard mailing tube.) I turn it over a few times. The class quiets down quickly and it’s great for kids and teachers who have issues with noise. —Deanna F.

16. I sing “Red Robin” and my students cannot possibly resist responding with “Yummm!” —Jamie B.

17. I usually say “easy peasy” and my students answer “lemon squeezy.” Or I use “Okey dokey” and “artichokey.” —Marci M.

18. I sing the old Batman TV show theme song: “Du na na na. …” They reply “Batman!” —Debbie H.

19. My students are middle schoolers. I count down from 5 and then thank students who are listening by name. I sometimes say, “Great, I’m just waiting for four more students … now two more. …” —Eva B.

20. If my middle schoolers are too noisy during group work, I have a toy rooster that screams and crows with the push of a button. They laugh and know to quiet down and focus. —Alexandra C.

21. Using a quiet voice, I say, “If you can hear the sound of my voice, touch your nose. If you can hear the sound of my voice, touch your ear, etc.” —Lizzie G.

23. I say “Scooby Dooby Doo.” They say Where are you?” Awesome. —Heidi S..

24. We play “The Price Is Right” song when students pass in papers. In September, my students groan and call me cheesy. By the end, they’ll start singing it on their own if I don’t play it. The process is quicker and I don’t lose their attention! —amburger28

25. When someone is doing something they shouldn’t be, instead of calling them out, ring the bell and draw attention to someone who WAS on task.

26. Here’s one for the high-tech classroom. When you hear “www dot,” you say “zip it dot com.”

27. When all else fails, spray Quiet Spray into the air!

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