I’m not very good at discussing “theory”. Specifically teaching theory.

I love talking about how things work in real life and giving examples but discussing “theory” isn’t my jam.

Hope you are OK with that.

Oh…good…you’re still reading.


One of the questions I get a LOT is how to make kids…shall we say…PAY ATTENTION.

How many times have we been in front of a group of kids only to have them picking each other’s boogers and playing duck duck goose while we try to teach a serious lesson?

No? Just me?

Ok, I exaggerate, slightly, but you get my drift here. Kids are distracted easily and it is exceptionally hard to get, and keep, their attention.

So the next time you are teaching try this:

Use video games as an example of what you are teaching.

In my case, I was talking about sharing.

The idea being, that sharing and thinking of someone else before yourself doesn’t mean taking your friends controller and playing the level for him. Instead, sharing means helping your friend get through the level, even if it takes him longer, or he has to try a few times.

At one point, during the video game example, I started to sing “doot, doot” style the theme song for the original Mario Bros.

Moment of honesty here. I was trying to be super clever. I was only trying to make the story interesting to listen to.

But then the craziest thing happened. I sang the first couple bars of the theme song and the entire class finishes the song!!!


And it’s at this moment I realized what I had done.

I had snapped everyone’s attention back to me by simply…singing the theme song to Mario Bros.

How ridiculous is that, right???!!!

But here’s the thing….as unplanned as that moment was it was a great reminder to me that simple, silly moments in a story can be powerful tools for keeping everyone’s attention.

When the class hears a song they know, and start singing along, no one is picking their friends boogers, or playing duck duck goose around the room!!! (not sure why I picked those activities in particular….)

So the next time you are looking at your lesson, thinking…”how am I going to keep their attention?” use this simple trick.

Do something cheesy / catchy that the kids will likely know. Things like humming a popular song melody or quoting popular movie lines.

It’s attention grabbing magic.

So tell me…what’s your go to move for grabbing kid’s attention?

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