Calling to Order

Bugle Boy

When watching movies (most likely Disney cartoons), have you ever noticed the spiffy bugle boy who signals for the crowds of peasants to stop what they are doing and listen up, because the powerful king has something to announce? Well I have, because I want to hire that bugle boy for my classroom. Getting your students attention can be tough sometimes, especially when it is 1:30, they are jittery, distracted, and full of sugar from three Milky Ways. You need to be heard so they can learn. Also, it has been said that people learn best by talking about ideas and doing. Yet you cannot have talking and doing in your classroom without a way to stop all the activity… without shouting.

No one likes to shout and no one likes to be shouted at. Oh, and parents and administration won’t be too pleased to hear about shouting. Then it’s agreed upon- you better have a device to get students’ attentions.

I have tried multiple techniques, but nothing has ever worked out stellar for me. Example- visual signals like “All eyes on me” and the students must point to their eyes to show you have their attention. Or verbal signals like counting down from 5, at which point everyone must be silent. Although I secretly giggle about being like Tupac with all eyes on me, it is somewhat babyish and I don’t think junior high kids react well to looking like little kids. And counting…well, the students must hear you for it to work, and let’s face it, sometimes my classroom is louder than it should be.

Wind Chime

Solution- Musical Chime- Ring 1X to get them to notice you. Ring 2X and there should be total silence.

This is a tip from Marcia Tate, of Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites renown. I had the great opportunity to attend one of her seminars and she used this throughout. A chime is better than a bell because it is a singular noise, not something like a bell which  you will have the urge to ring several times when frustrated. A chime is also better than a tambourine- silly or a kazoo- goofy (and annoying).


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