Keeping Kids Attention- New Ideas

What To Do When You've Lost Them

​Have you found some days are great, and some days just aren’t? Kids have those days, just like we adults do. What do you do when you have so many great things to share and you fail in keeping kids attention?

keeping kids attention

Ever have a teaching day like that? Yes, yes, yes…. and we all say yes!

Keeping Kids Attention

Whether you are a parent, a classroom teacher, or a home-schooling parent here are some thoughts that might help in keeping kids attention, especially as the holidays draw near.

When kids have shifted their focus from you unto something else, they can be really intent on their new interest. Sometimes it can be quite a challenge to bring them back from wherever it is that their mind has gone. You have to interrupt their new found passion with an even stronger diversion. Calling their name doesn’t even always help, because they hear their name so often.

Here are some things you might do to keep kids attention or to get their attention back:

  • Change the environment: Do something in the room that will make them wonder what is happening. You can turn the lights off and then back on for a moment. They are sure to look up and see what is going on. You can open or close the door.
  • Make a different sound: You can make a loud noise or use something like a kazoo. You can change your voice to really squeaky or really low. Make your voice change to the character you are talking about. You may have to change these up a little when they are no longer a surprise.
  • Use your body language: move to stand near the child. He will re-focus on you because he will wonder what you are doing. Suddenly use really big motions. Physically act out what you are saying.
  • Involve kids physically: Have the the whole group act out the points of the lesson. Even if they are not role playing, they can act out a motion of the point you are teaching them.
  • Get their eye contact. Move your face or a hand in their line of vision of what has a student’s attention and then ask him to look into your eyes when you ask him a question about the lesson. Be sure his eyes stay on you. If he looks away, ask him to look at you again. And then give hints so he can answer your question, or he may shut you out again, if he feels it is too hard.
  • Stop talking and give a sign: Sometimes quiet can be very surprising. Before the class, tell them a movement you will do that they all have to copy when the classroom noise escalates. For instance, when things begin to feel a little out of control, stop talking and hold two fingers up and wait until all of the kids to copy you and hold two fingers up before you begin again. When the kids learn what two fingers up means, it can be quite effective.

So there are 6 ideas of things to try in keeping kids attention. This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you want to do further research on this, check out this page. I am sure in your experience, you have found great ideas of things that work. Will you share with us what you have found to work below, in the comments section?

Do you know someone else who could use new ideas for keeping kids attention in the classroom or at home? Forward this to them. They will thank you!

Teaching Style- What is Yours?

What is Your Teaching Style?

Have you ever thought about the following question? What is your teaching style? Do you need to plan everything out to the smallest detail, or are you the type that likes to go into a new situation and “wing it?” Do you write out every word of your lesson, or do you improvise as you go along? While I don’t think either extreme produces the most effective teaching, I do think that there are advantages to both, knowing exactly what you want to say and being improvisational and spontaneous. Let’s look at both.

sleeping student

If you find it necessary to write out every word when you are teaching, especially in front of a group, it will probably sound like you are reading- because you will be reading. It is much harder to have good eye contact and connection when you read the material. If you spend the time to memorize the material, you risk forgetting something, losing your place, or you may sound like you are giving a speech, none of which aid in connection to the student. Connection really is important in keeping the students’ focus so they don’t fall asleep or get distracted. Your teaching style matters.

On the other hand, if you come into the classroom and just begin talking without a plan, your presentation will most likely be scattered and hard to follow, which will not be effective either. You may even miss the main point because you spend most of your time on rabbit trails!

Your presentation needs to sound as though it is fresh and you are newly putting these thoughts together, and at the same time, it needs to be polished as though you have taught it forever. How do you do that? How do you make it fresh and polished at the same time?

I believe it is in your preparation. Your teaching style needs to be defined before you enter the classroom. There is a phrase (I think first coined by Benjamin Franklin) that says: If you Fail to Plan you are essentially Planning to Fail. So we do need to make plans. We need to know exactly where we are going or it is likely we will not get there.

Here are some teaching style tips I have implemented when I have put together a presentation.

  • I always start with an outline. It is a sort of roadmap to keep me on track.
  • I write down the points and sub-points so I know exactly what I want to cover. I don’t write down every word I plan to say, but I make sure I have written the key points to keep me on track.
  • I may write down all of the details of a list if I I have a list to share, because I am not great on remembering lists.
  • There might be some other things that I want to say that I will include in my notes.
  • I may run through my notes in a “practice teaching time” and if there is something that trips me up, I write down the beginning of the sentence I want to say, to get me started.
  • I type my notes out in large font so when I present, I am readily able to read them.

For me this really works because then I am free to look into the eyes of the students when I am teaching. That eye contact can help to hold their attention. Again, teaching style. I want to come across with fresh inspiration and discovery but be planned and confident as though I have known it all forever.

Anything that is worth doing, is worth putting a little preparation time into. If you are new to teaching, this may take a little practice to find the balance, but it will be so worth it—for you and your students! And please don’t forget to follow the Lord’s leading by the Spirit and pray! And define your teaching style!

Thanksgiving Thought for November

A Wrong Kind of Thankful

Did you ever consider that there could be a wrong kind of thankful? This was a Thanksgiving thought I had not considered. I hadn’t really thought of it much. All my life I was told to be thankful for things, so I was. The Bible says be thankful, so I was. (Let me make it clear that I’ve not been perfectly thankful all the time. I’m sure you could have already guessed that.) So, how could “being thankful” possibly ever be wrong?

This week, I was challenged by this Thanksgiving thought. There is a correct “thankful,” and it’s worthy of our attention. Many years in the past, our family has shared around the dinner table at Thanksgiving, each person telling of one thing they’re thankful for. I thought it was great. But looking at it now, I was missing something really important.

What Was Missing?

I was missing the object of our thankfulness. It’s not enough to be thankful for our family if we don’t know WHOM we are thanking. We can be thankful for our food, shelter, family, and friends, and many specific blessings, but if we’re not directing our thanks to somebody or something, it means very little. In fact, if we are thanking the tree for its shade, and no more, it is worship of the creation instead of the Creator. 

A Thanksgiving Thought

So this Thanksgiving, I plan to be mindful of this. I will not be thankful to an unknown source. I won’t be thankful to the creation instead of the Creator. And they won’t be thankful to “nobody.” Because that’s what being thankful without an object is– it is being thankful to nobody.

So my wish for you is a very happy Thanksgiving in which you are thankful to God of the Bible. Join me in being thankful to the God who has created us, redeemed us, provides for us, and loves us from eternity past through eternity future. And this Thanksgiving thought is what we want to teach our kids.  

Here is a post about thanking God for things we often don’t thank Him for. Maybe it will trigger more Thanksgiving thought for your prayer time.

Would you click below and tell Whom you are thankful to and also for what you are thankful this year? Thanks! It would mean a lot to me and others!