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Sunday, July 1, 2018


Switch off technology and switch on human interaction!!!

Some of you just finished the school year and some of you will be heading back in a few weeks. Whenever you start you will probably be challenged getting some of your students to listen and pay attention. As children spend more time in front of a screen they are disconnecting from the real world.

We all know that YOU HAVE TO REACH THEM BEFORE YOU CAN TEACH THEM! Over the next 25 days on my blog I will be sharing tips and tricks for engaging children. If you download the ideas each day I think you'll have a pretty useful tool you can use when school starts. Oh, yeah! It will be FREE!

I've titled this series THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT.  In addition to capturing children's attention, these activities will reinforce SEL (Social Emotional Learning) by encouraging self awareness, self regulation, and social relationships. They are playful, challenging, active, and a natural way to develop oral language and multiple standards.

HARVEST THESE IDEAS!  Pick the ones that will work best for you and the age level you teach. Change them, adapt them, and have FUN with them!


1. Look your children in their eyes and smile. Get down on their eye level and hold their hand.

2. Give you students 100% of your attention. Be in the moment!!! Send the message that YOU are the most important thing in the world right now. I’m giving you my best and I need to you to do the same.

3. Brain Research 101 says the brain likes anything that is novel, challenging, and new. Put something in a bag or box to create interest. Wear a pair of silly glasses or use a strange voice.
4. Be enthusiastic! Teachers can add the magic to anything with their facial expressions, voice, and body language.

5. Physical proximity! Get close to your students. Create an intimate space by having the children sit on the floor in a circle. A gentle touch can send a positive message to the brain.

6. Do a movement activity to focus those busy hands. Lead children in a cheer or a clapping pattern. Use callbacks and attention grabbers.
7. Turn “paying attention” into a game. When you say “game,” that gets translated into children’s language as “play.”

8. Activate children’s senses. Keep them focused by stimulating their eyes, ears, and bodies.

9. Give students the opportunity to talk and move. They can only sit still so long, so integrate brain breaks, songs, and movement activities into your day.

10. Use their name frequently. You might have a child daydreaming and simply saying their name will bring them back to reality.

My mother never went to college, but she could have told you these things.  It's really just commonsense, isn't it?