I had a great moment today. Alright so, I was going over synonyms today. I gave the students "look" as an example of a word which has a lot of synonyms. One of the words that a student gave me was "peer." Another student hadn't heard the word "peer" before. So, he wanted to know what it meant. I had to think for about 30 seconds. I gave him an example of a pirate taking out his telescopic monocular to look out for other ships.
I was losing some students attention. Usually, what I'll do is I'll show five fingers. Each finger means something. If I extend my thumb outward, but pointed towards my chest, it means that I want students to look at me. And, once students do so, I thank them for looking at me. I changed my vocabulary a bit. I looked around and asked if someone could peer at me, so then, I get a bunch of students who make a motion as if they have a telescopic monocular in my direction. We were just playing around, but at the same time, that act of pretending made students more enthusiastic to focus on me. Enthused with my own improvement, I decided to apply the same idea of getting my students' attention in one more playful way.
When I extend my thumb, index, and middle finger, it means that I want students to be still and quiet. Normally, I'll thank students for being still and quiet. Instead of saying that, I tried to scout out a student who was looking at me and appeared to be focused and then I said, "Sophie looks awesome right now because she is as still and quiet as a statue." Once I said that, other students were competing to see who could be more still, quiet, and facing my direction. Success!
Anyway, it seems to be a good principle to merge playfulness and behavior management, so I'll do my best to continue doing that until I discover its limitations.