No Series: Get Their Attention Without Saying A Word

Get Their Attention Without Saying A Word

Lesson Objective: Focus student attention with an easy-to-use hand signal strategy
All Grades / All Subjects / Signaling


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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. How does the "raise your hand" signal contribute to positive class culture?
  2. What are some of the benefits of this approach for students?
  3. For teachers?
  4. Why might it be important to let students finish their thought and focus before responding?


  • Private message to Michael Stires

Being able to use a simple gesture of raising your hand allows for the teacher to get the attention of the students without having to raise their voice to alter the classroom environment. This strategy helps students be independent because it allows the students to be observant to what is going on and to create self-discipline amongst the students. It benefits teachers because it allows them to apply the expectations that were set at the beginning of the year for students. Allowing students finish their thoughts before responding allows for them to get whatever they were writing or talking about on paper and to allow the student to shift their focus on the teacher.

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  • Private message to Giovanni Sloan

The Curriculum Department has given me permission to skip this discussion.

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  • Private message to Alonzo Ford

Using hand signals really works.

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  • Private message to Camisha McClellan

The raised hand signal gets the students attention without yelling at them. When teachers have to constantly yell over students it creates a negative tone in the classroom. The students benefit form this technique because they don't have to be facing the teachers to be aware for the signal and they're given a few moments to finish their thoughts. the teacher benefits because it sets an expectation for the students and she is given their full attention. Its important to let the students to finish their thoughts so that they don't "lose it" and so that they can fully focus on the teacher.

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  • Private message to Willie Blackburn

I love utilizing this strategy when visiting classrooms to make a presentation. So powerful especially when students take it upon themselves "to police themselves". 

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  • [Music]

    I like to get their attention silently rather than saying, “If you can hear me, clap once” or something like


    I like to get their attention silently rather than saying, “If you can hear me, clap once” or something like that. One of the things I do is I put my hand up.

    Thank you Justin, Diana. Okay.

    Anybody in the room who sees my hand puts their hand up, and so on and so forth, so anybody who sees another hand up, they all put their hands up. It’s a silent way of getting their attention. All the kids don’t have to be facing me in order for it to happen. They’re always facing each other when they’re working in small groups. It also gives them a second or two to finish that last thought, whatever they’re talking about or working on.

    [Background talking 00:51]

    It’s not an immediately, “You must be silent now.” It gives them a second to bring their attention back to the whole class.


    [End of Audio 1:08]

School Details

Amistad Dual Language School
4862 Broadway
New York NY 10034
Population: 406

Data Provided By:



Amy Withers