20 Attention-Getters to Quiet Any Noisy Classroom

20 Attention-Getters to Quiet Any Noisy Classroom

Our Education Blogger is a public school teacher with over a decade of experience. She’s an active NEA member and enjoys writing about her experiences in the classroom.


20 Attention-Getters to Quiet Any Noisy Classroom

Part of a good classroom management system includes a way to get the attention of students. When it is time for students to stop, focus, and be ready to listen and learn, an attention-getter should be in a teacher’s magic bag of management tricks.  Attention-getters should do the job quickly and efficiently.  Grabbing the focus of students will be a snap with some tried and true attention-getters.


Call and Response

  1. Teacher says “Hey Hey!” and students respond with “Ho Ho!”  I’ve been using this one in my classroom ever since I began teaching.
  2. Teacher: “Let’s Go Tigers!”  Students reply by clapping: clap, clap, clap, clap, clap.  Insert your favorite sports team or even your school mascot.
  3. Teacher says “Flat Tire!”  Students say: “sssshhhhhhhh.”  Put a limit on how long the “ssshhh” should be.  Some jokesters may drag it out a bit too long.
  4. Teacher says: “Class, class.”  Students say: “Yes, yes.”
  5. Paying homage to a Disney classic, the teacher says “Hakuna!” while students call out “Matata!”
  6. Teacher says: “Meanwhile” Students say: “Back at the ranch.”
  7. Teacher says: “Hocus Pocus!”  Students say: “Everybody Focus!”
  8. Teacher says: “Alright, stop!”  Students say: “Collaborate and listen.”
  9. Teacher says: “Macaroni and cheese.”  Students say: “Everybody freeze!”
  10. Teacher says: “All set.”  Students say: “You bet!”



  1. Teacher claps once, students respond with two claps.  You could even use patterns.
  2. Teacher silently raises one hand in the air with two fingers up like the peace signal.  Students will mimic teacher until the entire class is silent while giving the peace signal.
  3. Use a bell, timer, or doorbell.  When students hear the audio signal, they stop to listen.
  4. Find an item, like a hat or glasses, to put on when you need students to focus on you.
  5. Use a quiet instrument, such as a triangle, wind chime, drum, or sound block.
  6. Flick the lights off and on until students are ready to learn.
  7. Create a paddle with a stop sign on it.  Hold it up when you need the attention of students.
  8. Play a song, or part of a song.  When the song is over, students must be quiet and focused.
  9. Teacher raises hand in the air while silently counting down with fingers.  When no fingers are left, the class should be ready to learn.
  10. Wave a flag, or wand, in the air for all students to see.  Students must be silent and listening by the time you lower the flag.


Find at least one attention-getter with which you are comfortable, or create your own.  Practice your intended attention-getter with your students often to get desired results.  Are students not responding to your usual attention-getter?  Switch it up!  Change your attention-getter altogether, or mix up what you usually use.  Don’t be afraid to get a little silly, only if your students can handle it.  Say it in a different accent, or stretch it out in slo-mo.


We’d love to hear from you!  Do you have a preferred attention-getter?  Please share your favorite attention-getter in the comments below!


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.


Kid-Friendly Search Engines

Kid-Friendly Search Engines

Teaching students how to properly research on the internet is a difficult task.  With the right tools, teachers can help students find reliable, meaningful information. Help your students conduct online research using these safe, effective search engines and websites.

Kidtopia – Kidtopia is a Google custom student safe search engine for preschool and elementary students, indexing only educator-approved websites.

SafeSearchKids – Safe Search for Kids is a powerful, safe search tool that filters search results to enhance your students’ safe search experience. Powered by Google.

KidsClick! – Annotated searchable directory of websites created for kids by librarians. Searchable by subject, reading level and degree of picture content.

SweetSearch – SweetSearch is a search engine for students. It searches only credible websites approved by Internet research experts.

KidRex – Fun and safe search for kids, by kids.

Famhoo – Kid and family-friendly search engine, filtered search results that remove adult content. Great for all ages.

OneKey – OneKey has partnered with Google to keep kids safe on the Internet.

KidzSearch – Family-friendly safe search engine for children.

Primary School Safe Search – Primary School Safe Search is a great place to start internet sessions for children and teachers. Internet searches are filtered.

FactMonster – Fact Monster is a free reference site for students, teachers, and parents.

Kiddle – Kiddle is a visual search engine for kids powered by Google, offering safe kids web, image, and video search.

GoogleScholar – Google Scholar is a search engine designed to search scholarly journals, Supreme Court records, and patent records. In some cases, the results will link to abstracts of books and articles that you will then have to obtain from a library or book retailer. In other cases, results will link to fully viewable documents.

refseek – Academic search engine for students and researchers. Locates relevant academic search results from web pages, books, encyclopedias, and journals.

WolframAlpha – WolframAlpha is a computational search engine. If students have any questions involving numbers, Wolfram Alpha is the place to go. Wolfram Alpha can be used for other searches, but it’s not nearly as useful for general inquiries as it is for computational questions.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.



10 Kindness Week Ideas for Schools

10 Kindness Week Ideas for Schools

Random Acts of Kindness Week is the third full week of February, with February 17 designated as Random Acts of Kindness Day. Here are 10 ideas for teachers and students that are not only fun but help students learn to spread kindness:

Create a kindness wall or bulletin board where students, teachers, and staff can write various acts of kindness on sticky notes

Kindness Wall


Fill a kindness jar with various random acts of kindness and have students and staff take one to do

kindness week ideas for teachers


Put positive sticky notes on cubbies or lockers

Kindness week ideas


Start a bulletin board dedicated to acknowledging kindness students and staff have seen in the class and around the school

Kindness Week ideas


Create and share a kindness calendar with a different act of kindness for every day of the month

kindness calendar


Start staff meetings or the school day with an inspiring video such as this one featuring ALS patient Chris Rosati

kindness ideas


Have students play a kindness game

kindness week ideas


Start a class or school fundraiser for a charity

kindness week ideas


Remember to show appreciation to custodians and other support staff

kindness week ideas


Paint kindness rocks with kind messages and then to place them back on the ground for someone else to find.

kindness week ideas


Being kind is infectious; it will spread. Find all sorts of ideas for random acts of kindness you can incorporate into your classroom, school and your community at https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/kindness-ideas or visit our “Kindness” board on Pinterest!

Don’t forget to give us a follow at California Casualty to stay up to date on every new kindness idea we discover! Scan our Pincode with your Pinterest camera to follow:


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. California Casualty does not own any of the photos in this post, all are sources by to their original owners. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.


Valentine’s Day Printables

Valentine’s Day Printables

Want to have cute Valentines to pass out to your class, but don’t want to pay out-of-pocket? Download our free Valentine’s Day Educator Printables!

California Casualty has been insuring educators for over half a century, so we know the amount of stress you are under to find creative ways to teach on a tight budget. That is why we created Educator Printables- a library of printables that teachers can download to use in their lesson plans completely free of charge! You can view our Valentine’s Day Printable collection below or click here to view the whole library.

Just right click and save or drag to your desktop, Happy Valentine’s Day!


Valentine’s Day Treat Tags

Valentines Day Educator Printables




Valentine’s Day Student Cards

Valentines Day Educator Printables




Customizable Valentine’s Candy Hearts

Valentines Day Educator Printables



If you have an idea for a printable or would like a custom printable with a special theme, your classroom motto, favorite quote, etc. send us a message on our Facebook page @CaliforniaCasualty and we will design your own personal Educator Printable for free. 🙂


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

What You Need to Know About Classroom Quiet Zones

What You Need to Know About Classroom Quiet Zones

Have you ever heard of a classroom quiet zone?  Want to learn more?  Read on…

We’ve outlined some important elements about using quiet zones in the classroom.


What is a Quiet Zone?

This is an area in the classroom dedicated to providing a calming, quiet, distraction-free zone. Students can use the quiet zone to work, read, or think. It can be a place for students to get caught up on work, take a test, draw, calm down, manage emotions, or just to be alone. Ultimately, the idea is to provide an area where students can get their emotions in check and return to the classroom ready to work.


What Does a Classroom Quiet Zone Look Like?

The quiet zone space should be well-defined. Use study carrels, curtains, tent, or shelves to keep visual distractions to a minimum. Provide a table or desk with a chair. Or, make it a more comfortable and inviting space with a small couch or large pillows. A rug completes the area and provides a clear outline for the space.


What Else Should Be In The Quiet Zone?

You can provide basic supplies, like books, pencils, paper, coloring utensils, clipboard, etc. Stress-relieving tools like squishy balls, fidget toys, stuffed animals. Additionally, to block out noise distraction, offer headphones, or noise-canceling headphones.


What Rules Should The Quiet Zone Have?

Only one student at a time in the quiet zone. A time limit should be implemented; 5 minutes is the suggested time for a student taking a mental health break. Keep a timer in the quiet zone and teach students to operate it.  When time is up, students should rejoin the class. If more time is needed, it may be a good idea to process with the student after their stay as there might be a deeper issue that needs to be addressed. A quiet zone is not a punishment and should not be treated as such. The quiet zone should not be a place for students to avoid work.


When Should A Student Go To The Quiet Zone?

When a student: feels overwhelmed, seems distracted, has trouble with a classmate, feels upset, or just needs a quick break from work. The reasons are truly endless. Don’t we all need a short break from time to time?


What Are The Benefits To Having A Quiet Zone in the Classroom?

The most obvious benefit of having a quiet zone is helping students learn to manage emotions. When students recognize something isn’t right, they can comfort themselves using the quiet zone. Also, a quiet zone helps students control their behavior and emotions rather than acting out during class.


Check out some of these calming, classroom quiet zones:


By Lisa Mongold – from the blog “On The Sunny Side





By Kayla Marston from the blog “The School Counselor Kind





Our Education Blogger is a public school teacher with over a decade of experience. She’s an active NEA member and enjoys writing about her experiences in the classroom.

Click here to learn more about how California Casualty supports Education Professionals.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

Free and Easy Valentine’s Day Lessons for All Grade Levels

Free and Easy Valentine’s Day Lessons for All Grade Levels

Looking for free and easy Valentine’s Day Lesson ideas for your classroom?  Check out some of these ideas for all grade levels!

Elementary (K-5)

Candy Heart Connections (TeachHub.com)
If you’re teaching colors, have students sort hearts by color. If you’ve got early readers, have students match pictures related to the messages. You could have small bins with photos of kissing lips (Kiss Me), a phone (Call me), a puppy (Puppy Love), a bride and groom (Marry Me), an angel (Angel), a ladybug (Love Bug). Kids can take turns putting their candies in the proper bins.

There are really endless possibilities. Heart messages can jump-start synonym or antonym brainstorming, act as sentence starters. You could have a worksheet with columns for nouns, verbs, etc.

If you don’t want to use the actual candy hearts, you can start by having students make them. Older students can amp up the vocab by using SAT words to create their conversation hearts.

Flower Math (TeachHub.com)
What better time to cover the increments of 12 by calculating flowers by the dozen?

Depending on your current curriculum, adapt word problems that calculate cost per flower, calculate average pedal per flower or per bouquet, etc. You can even use real ads to find the best Valentine’s flower deal. Remind students to factor in tax (practicing percentage calculations) and delivery charge for multi-step word problems.

Younger students can just count, add, subject, multiply, divide the flowers, petals, etc.

Friendship From the Heart (Scholastic.com)
This activity should be completed after you have discussed the characteristics of a friend. Give each of your students a small heart with the name of a classmate on it. Have each student write one adjective that describes that classmate on the heart. Glue each student’s small heart to a large heart in the classroom. Hang it in the classroom so students can remember the qualities of a good friend.

Leaning Tower of Hearts (Scholastic.com)
This Valentine’s edition asks students to try and stack as many candy hearts as they can, one on top of the other, in just one minute. Put a countdown timer on the projector and watch your students get to work. Because candy hearts are not perfectly flat, the game is much more difficult than it seems. Your students will love this game and probably beg to play more than one round as they try and engineer the perfect stacking strategy.

Hallmark.com Valentine Party IdeasGames and activities for kids; with printable puzzles, game ideas, crafts, and treats


Middle (6-8) and High School (9-12)

History.comValentine’s Day videos, articles, and photo galleries from “History of Chocolate” to “Great Romances in History”

Catapult Challenge (Scholastic.com)
A STEM activity in which students build a catapult to launch valentine candy.

Budgeting for Your Date (TeachHub.com)
You are in charge of planning your date for Valentine’s Day. You need to take a special someone for an evening out. 

First, set your budget. $25 date, $50 date, $100 date and a $500 date

Then, identify the expenses required for the evening. Where will you go? How will you get there? What are some potential unintended costs? Will you bring a gift?

Once you’ve figured this all out, write each item in a list and specify the cost of each item. 

(You can either let students do online research to find prices for restaurants/activities OR provide a selection with menus and brochures that provide pricing.)

The Business of Valentine’s Day (TeachHub.com)
Have your students create a business plan for a Valentine’s Day product or service.

Step 1: Brainstorm their product or service. Answer the question:

  1. How does this stand out from other Valentine’s Day pack?
  2. Who are my potential customers?

Step 2: Budget for supplies, labor and/or other production costs.

  1. Your produce can be as simple as pre-made valentines, but you need to consider the cost of the paper, scissors, markers or computer products needed to create the cards.
  2. Allot part of your budget for advertising. Even if this just means posters around the school, list the cost of those posts, tape, etc.

Step 3: Set pricing, sales goals and projected profits for your business

Step 4: Compile all of this information into a presentation for the class.

BONUS: Create a prototype, demonstration or drawing of your product to really SELL the idea to potential business investors.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.


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