Do you have a rowdy class to which you can’t seem to hold their attention or get it back after an activity?

It’s easy for kids to get so into an activity that they feel almost immune to the outside. Seeing them so engaged and intrigued by your activities is great, but it’s a nightmare for moving the class forward and continuing the day of learning.

That’s why many teachers use attention grabbers. These are perfect for particularly active and vocal groups of children. However, they should also work and apply to all classes of young children and can often be seen as a useful interval to compartmentalize and divide the day. This will avoid confusion over subjects and keep every discussion where it needs to be, helping your class remain focused and engaged throughout the day.

In this article, we will provide many examples of fun attention grabbers to reign the attention back to you and almost pause your class momentarily before moving forward cohesively.

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What are attention grabbers?

Attention grabbers are the mini vocal activities teachers do to grab the attention of their class. The clue is completely in the name. They are a great way to refocus the class or shift the focus back to the teacher. They can commemorate the end of one subject and the beginning of another. Or, they can be used to settle down a class that may be more difficult to maintain. It is a fun and easy way to realign the class without negative reinforcements, creating a much better environment for the kids. This controlled yet positive environment will make for a more productive space for your class to grow, learn and develop in a fun, interesting, engaging, and, most importantly, safe way.

Examples of attention grabbers you should try in your classroom

Below is a list of our favorite attention grabbers you can use throughout the day to start your class. Add a bit of flair to your classroom with these unique, engaging, quick attention grabbers.

“Shark bait!”

Shark bait is quite simple but exciting for the kids. The teacher yells “shark bait” when they want the class’s attention, and the students reply with “Ooh, ha ha!” Think “Marco Polo,” but a bit more exciting. It’s especially popular in the younger years.


Order an easy-to-use doorbell off Amazon and have an alert for your classroom quickly. Keep it near you and press it when you want your students’ attention. Better yet, have it where they can’t see, give yourself the element of surprise!

“Flat tire!”

The teacher calls out, “Flat tire!” and students respond with “ssshhhh!” – to mimic the air coming out of a popped tire.

“Holy Moly!”

Everyone knows the phrase, and everyone likes the food! Try the call and response “Holy Moly” and then “Guacamole!” to bring flavor to your class.

Stay cool like Vanilla Ice

Bring back the classics and shout “Ice, Ice!” as you wait to hear “Baby!”. Or try, “Alright, stop!” and they reply, “Collaborate and listen!” The kids may not get how awesome that is, but you will!

“Hocus Pocus!”

With a new movie this year, this one is fun and topical. Try “Everybody Focus!” A perfect attention grabber for fall.

“Macaroni and Cheese!”

Did somebody say “mac and cheese”? No, they said, “Everybody Freeze!” And your kids should freeze like a statue.

Whole Brain Teaching

Whole-brain teaching is all about engaging the brain as a whole when teaching. The idea is for the student to respond to the teacher’s call, however, in the appropriate way. This means they have to quickly process and reciprocate how the teacher delivered the attention grabber with their call back. So if the teacher shouts “Class class!” the students must reply “Yes, yes!” in. the same voice style. For example, if the teacher uses a high-pitched voice, a whisper, or a deep and low voice, the class must mimic it.

Golden Arches

A jingle your class will know well, the McDonald’s one! Call out “ba da ba ba ba” and wait for the classic “I’m Lovin it!”

“1,2,3, eyes on me”

Model for your students how to stop, turn to you and pause for further instructions. Call out “1,2,3, eyes on me,” as they should respond with “1,2,3, eyes on you” to acknowledge this attention grabber and break up any other activities that may be happening to wait for further instructions.


Bring a bit of stimulating sensory music into your classroom when you get your student’s attention by incorporating the soothing sound of a wind chime. This sound should indicate for them to stop what their doing. This disruption to their activities should be clear enough to bring them to a halt. Still, the relaxing delivery of the wind chimes continues a positive, controlled, and calming environment perfect for young students.

PB & J

You yell “peanut butter,” and they yell, “And jelly!” It’s simple yet effective, a classic but still fun.

Compound words

What better attention grabber than one that does its job and incorporates a useful skill to benefit their academic development? This technique involves you saying the first word of a compound word and waiting for the students to assist you with the second. Any compound word should work with correct modeling and examples. This gets the student’s attention and encourages them to consider more complex words and their structure, improving their comprehension skills and increasing the likeliness of their correct use of vocabulary.

Some examples of compound words you can use are:

  • “Apple” – “Sauce”
  • “Pop” – “Corn”
  • “Hot” – “Dog”
  • “Butter” – “Fly”
  • “Milk” – “Shake”

Ready to line up

Who doesn’t love a good rhyme to get everyone in formation? Try this rhyme and have your class looking military-ready when lining up to leave the classroom:

Teacher: “1,2”

Students: “3,4”

Teacher: “Let’s go”

Students: “Out the door!”

”If you can hear my voice…”

This particular attention grabber is especially clever. It starts with the teacher speaking in a whisper. You say, “If you can hear my voice…clap once.” The students who can hear will clap once in response. You get increasingly louder each time you have to say the phrase, but the idea is to avoid shouting. You shouldn’t go over your regular voice’s volume in fact, the quieter you are when the whole class is clapping, the better. Your plan is not to yell. The idea is that your students will start to wonder why people are clapping and stop talking to listen and then hear you. It’s the perfect way to get their attention, act uniformly, and develop their listening and response skills.


Why not try something unique? How about a class microphone? It’s fun, different, and can be completely personal to your class, not to mention it’ll get the kids’ attention. It’s also got multipurpose value as you could easily use it for other activities such as practicing school plays, show and tell public speaking, and more.


This attention grabber is going to need context for the full effect. Play the commercial first and then introduce calling “My bologna has a first name!” and listen for the response, “It’s O – S – C – A – R!” It’s known to crack the kids up and put a smile on their faces.

Hands-on top

Hands-on top means stop – see how we rhymed. Model for them how you expect them to stop, place their hands on their heads, and look to you for instructions so they know that when you begin with “hands-on top,” they should expect “that means stop” to follow quickly.

Who lets the dogs out?

Not to ruin your day and get the song stuck in your head, but who lets the dogs out again? Ah yes, “who, who, who?” – Sorry! But we must admit, it is fun, and the kids love it.

More examples of attention grabbers you can use with your class

There are so many attention grabbers you can use it’s hard to list them all! But for even more to try, just read below:

  • Clap it out – clap a rhythm and have the kids repeat it. Change it up to keep it engaging.
  • “Goodness, gracious!” “Great balls of fire!” – you may not be Tom Cruise, but it’ll still get their attention.
  • Toy story – everyone’s favorite kid’s film can be handy in the classroom. Try: “To infinity…” and pause for the “…and beyond!”
  • Growth mindset – there’s no reason this time can’t be used to spread positive affirmations throughout the class that will make them more in tune to learn and grow than ever. “A mistake is a chance” “To try again!” Re-define ‘failure’ and watch them never fail again.

Attention grabbers are incredibly useful to teachers and even students. They can be as personal as you wish and can even incorporate relevant subjects you’re covering at that time. You can take any of the above examples and put your spin on it. Or, make up your own from scratch and get your creative juices flowing before shaping the minds of the future!