Focus Activities

These games are for your use when you need to get your class settled down or focused on the activity you’re doing.  Some of these games will work better than others for your particular class; feel free to use the same game or games over and over to get your class quieted.

I.  Counting to 10

Break the class up into two smaller groups.  Each group needs to count to ten aloud but only one person can talk at one time.  One person begins and by saying "one" and then another student continues the counting with "two," until the group reaches "ten".  This game is harder than it seems because often two members of the group will say the same number at the same time.  Every time this happens, the group must start all over again from "one."  They must successfully work together, using eye contact and caution, to reach "ten."

II.  Ball Pass

One teacher claps out a rhythm, and the students (sitting in a circle) pass a ball around in time to the rhythm.  The teacher increases the rhythm to as fast as the kids can go, then decreases it back down to a quiet level, ending this way in order to get the kids’ attention.  The students must concentrate silently on the one teacher beating the rhythm in order to successfully pass the ball.

III.  I Say “Peace,” You Say “Games”

One teacher says “Peace” and the students respond at a similar volume level with “Games.”  Escalate up to fast and loud, then back down to quiet and slow in order to get the kids’ attention.

IV.  Clap once if you can hear me

One teacher whispers, “clap once if you can hear me.”  The students who hear that will clap.  The teacher continues whispering, “clap twice if you can hear me,”  [claps], “clap three times…” until the whole room is quiet and listening enough to clap the right number of times in response to the teacher’s whisper.  You can challenge the kids after this activity to do it faster the next time.

V.  Peace, Dude

Similar to the standard, when-I-raise-my-hand-everyone-else-raises-their-hands-and-is-silent, you raise one hand and make a peace sign when the class gets too noisy.  The kids imitate this until the whole class is making peace signs and is silent.
VI.  Rainfall

When the class gets too loud, one teacher rubs their thumbs and first two fingers together as if making the “money” sign – this is gentle rain.  Once the whole class sees this and imitates it (silently), then the teacher changes to snapping fingers and points at a group of students to change also.  The teacher acts as a conductor, escalating this to clapping and eventually feet stomping to make a thunderstorm.  Then de-escalate down to gentle rain again, and you have the kids quiet and paying attention.

VII.  At-desk activities

If you’ve tried the standard out-of-the-seat curriculum and it’s too much for your class, you can modify the games so the students are participating from their desks.  Often, you can have students write instead of play the games.  For example, you could have each student jot down five stereotypes in the stereotype lesson, and then go around the room and each student reads one or two.

VIII.  Funpack

Refer to the funpack for more at-desk activities and other games that you can play with minimal chaos.