Last week, in my series of articles on zoo and wild animals resources, I described a settling technique (‘sleeping lions’) for classroom management, that also helps you manage transitions during the class.
Today I want to share another, a stirring technique, that you can use to keep the children focused. Its basically a call and response tool.
At the beginning of the class you elicit ‘what sound does a lion make’? The children will roar. Then you tell them that when you say ‘lion’ they all have to roar together. In the first few minutes after setting up the technique you might do it a few times, so that they get the idea and that they can quickly do it in unison. (If children drift off, they wont be doing it at the same time, so challenge them to be quicker. Its best to make a game of it, that is to see if you can catch them out as being too slow or unfocused.)
Then, throughout the lesson, and as you need to refocus the children, you yell out ‘lion!’
This is a technique the children will really enjoy. It is a ‘stirring’ activity, so you need to make sure some of the children don’t take it to far and be too silly with it. For the teacher, it will help you shift or lift the energy, keep the children engaged and focused throughout the class.
Of course, you can change the trigger word to anything you want, you might have the children be a frog when you yell out ‘frog’. Again, you need to be mindful that some children may want to be the class clown when you use this technique. So, in some groups of children, it may not work so well, and you have to get a sense of this yourself through experimentation.