As the end of the school year approaches, the weather gets warmer, the kids get more antsy and attention spans decrease. Sometimes our bodies need a little extra sensory input to help us maintain an appropriate level of alertness for optimal learning. Here are some simple, sensory, quick fixes that may help children to increase their attention span throughout the school day:
- Add movement breaks throughout the school day. Quick brain breaks can help to increase engagement and attention for the lessons that follow. Mini Movement Breaks offer 60+ activities that require no equipment to get students moving.
- Create multisensory lessons that involve different senses – visual, verbal, proprioceptive (heavy work), tactile and vestibular (rotary and linear movement). Get Up and Learn can help you get started with over 35 activities to incorporate movement with learning.
- Try flexible seating. Try standing up, sitting on the floor, lying on their bellies on the floor, rocking chairs, exercise balls, air cushion, etc. to help students stay alert. Wiggle Worms: A Guide to Alternative Seating can get your started.
- Switch up lessons between pencil and paper with more diverse lessons. Try adding in a tactile component. Sometimes when students can touch and feel something it may increase their level of interest and attention. Make a game out of the material. Children love competition.
- Offer fidgets. Stress balls, velcro dots under the desk to rub or small manipulatives are nice, quiet fidgets that may help some students focus and attend.
- Add in gestures when learning material. For example, while completing letter identification flash cards put your hands on your head when reading a capital letter and hands on your hips when reading a lower case letter.
- Start singing or add in music. There are so many songs today to learn new material even for math and science. Teach the children a song to learn new material or follow a routine.
- Bright colors or highlight information. If you need a student to attend to a certain section, paragraph, sentence or word, highlight it or print it on brightly colored paper.
- Chewing a crunchy snack or gum. Sometimes chewing on a crunchy snack like pretzels or chewing gum can help students to increase focus and attention span.
- Drink through a straw. Ask the students to bring in water bottles with straw lids or provide straws. The oral motor skills and sucking motion on the straw may help to increase focus.
What is your top tip to increase attention in students?
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