I strongly believe that students who are attention seeking to need meaningful connections with those around them. Without that, they will continue to act in “needy” ways that will annoy you, and get in their way in the future.
Over my years in the classroom, I have come across ten ways to give positive attention to these attention seeking students without increasing my own workload at all. These are simple but meaningful ways of building interaction between the student, their peers, and you.
1. Make the student the
“Official Collector of All Things!”
This is a win-win for me. I hate collecting things in the classroom, but when a student collects them that means that they get to have an interaction with each and every person in the classroom, and then with me. It really can’t get any better than this. I always make sure to thank the student with a little side-hug each time too. This takes care of a task that I couldn’t like less and gives the student a moment in the spotlight with their classmates and me.
For a little extra interaction bonus, I will have the student check each paper to make sure that everyone has put their name on it. They love this important job! This doesn’t just have to be for papers though, think of every time that you play quiz-quiz-trade or use task cards!
The key to this strategy is to give the student your undivided attention, and have a short conversation about anything they want. This year I have spent a lot of time talking and learning about video games because that is the number one interest for my special friend.
3. Leave the Student Positive Notes
I know what you are thinking, “But you said it would be no extra work!” I know, but when I say positive notes I mean a sticky note saying, “Great Job!” with your signature. Thirty seconds right? That includes looking around your desk for the sticky notes! It may sound silly, and not worth it, but look through their desk later and you will find a pile of these notes saved up. It really is the little things that can make the biggest difference.
4. Give the Student a Special Job
For me, it is turning off our Scentsy. This may seem trivial, but I gave this student a little pep talk on how I am always forgetting to turn it off, but it is vital that it is turned off every day. It is for all of our safety after all! So, at the end of each day, my student turns off our Scentsy. I don’t worry about it being left on, and it gives me another opportunity to thank my student for being responsible!
With each student, I make sure to tell them that this is a secret signal that is between us, they don’t need to know that “us” is them, me, and four other students in the class!
6. Eye Contact
It sounds easy but try it. 3-5 seconds feels like an eternity when you are trying to work the room, but it will be an eternity for your special student.
7. Call on the Student Every Time They Raise Their Hand
SO, call on the student every time they raise their hand, BUT it doesn’t have to be first, and it shouldn’t be. Gradually over time, you will be able to recognize more and more students before you get to them, because the student realizes that in fact, you WILL, get to them.
We all like to feel like a rockstar. Give this opportunity to your student to get that feeling! When you are traveling in the room and see that your student is rocking an assignment have them show their work to the class. This might mean displaying the paper on the document camera, show a problem on the board, or maybe play the role of a peer helper for those struggling.
9. Compliment Everything You Can
Your students feel the same way. Compliment their haircut, their shirt, their new shoes, their work, or anything else you can think of!
10. Make Them Your Messenger
I hope that these ideas have sparked something that will help in your classroom. It is already February and you can do it!
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