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Refocusing With “Call And Response”

Call and Response

I try to make use of strategies to refocus my students. “Refocusing with Call and Response” is a chant-style strategy that works with Pre-K up through adults and can be customized to meet your expectations.


I was reminded of this strategy (and will draw upon an example) from our friends from BetterLesson. Check out this resource! I highly recommend this site if you are a developing educator. BetterLesson has a great library of resources.

The Challenge

No matter what age your students are, gaining their attention can be a challenge. One of my goals as an educator is to be able to transition from one learning activity to the next. My goal is to do this as a smooth transition. Consequently, meeting additional learning and behavioral reinforcement goals is also possible with this strategy.

I find that if I do not rehearse transitional strategies with students, you will tend to lose precious class time. I also use this “call and response” strategy to mirror the range of objectives I have for my students. As a result of this classroom management technique I am reinforcing core school values and, as a result, more learning is taking place.

The General Idea

The general idea of this strategy is that you, as the teacher, create a variety of chants. Students will have a have a specified response to this chant. Most importantly, this will occur anytime you want to signal a change in the instructional direction.

This “call and response” strategy should be positive and provide students a few seconds to reorient themselves. This allows the students to be prepared to receive new instructions. As a result, this process should be swift and engaging.

Personally, I have many types of learners. They take part in a variety of activities in which this strategy allows for opportunities to regularly rehearse student conformity. As a behavioral observer, this strategy also provides me immediate insight into who may lack effective listening skills. Consequently, this observation provides me the information I need to make adjustments to properly use the “Call and Response” strategy.

Creating Your Chants

Creating your “call and response” should be related to the classroom values and objectives you have for your students. You can make them fun, serious or content related. I personally, keep my chants short and do them 2 – 3 times. One example I use is – TeacherBreathe; StudentsDeep. Above all, I want my students to focus on me. I make it a point to pause to make sure this occurs. If it doesn’t happen, I stand there with the “expectation eyes” for an additional moment or two.


In conclusion, using the “Call and Response” attention grabbing strategy can be an effective way to reinforce content knowledge. This is done quickly by using well rehearsed classroom chants. Simplicity in this strategy can provide your students the means for improving their focus to meet their learning goals. Consequently, you will find your classroom transition into a much smoother and culturally appropriate environment.

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