What do you use to get the attention of your students when they are working? It’s hard for the “teacher look” to work when they are happily working on a group activity or not looking at you and talking as they work. One of the best treats a teacher can do for herself is to teach her class one or two signals for when she wants the attention of her students. You need several signals because if the class is quiet, one signal might work, but if they are noisy or on the playground, you may need a different signal altogether. The other key is that you need to teach the signal just as you would a math problem or a vocabulary word. After you have taught the signal, the students will need time and opportunity to practice it. If their practice is great, tell them so. If it is not, tell them they will need to practice the signal again until they can do it just right and mean it. If you accept less than complete attention, that is just what they will learn to give you. You may need to practice occasionally if they slip.
When deciding on the signal for your class, consider the age, grade, ability level, and maturity of the group. Just because it worked with the same grade level last year does not mean it will work well with this group.
Listed below are some possible signals.