Novelty is something I think we often forget about in our classrooms. We base our classroom management plans on routine and consistency. Most of us get into a groove and rely on the same resources and activities year after year. But sometimes just a little change can make things more exciting for our kiddos.
As some of you know, I have a German Shepherd who is my 90-lb baby. The people at PetSmart will tell you she's spoiled--but I prefer the term "cherished". :) She is incredibly smart (and that's not just a proud mama talking) and picks up on things very quickly. In a training session when she was about 10 months old I taught her to dip her head with simply a clicker and food reinforcement in the span of 5 minutes-she will still do that on command. I was having problems with my knee last summer and was a little slower on our walks; I didn't even have to say anything to her, she just slows her gait to match mine.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, my little GT baby gets super-bored with her toys very quickly. She loves to make noise and squeak, but that only lasts a short time. She has a soccer ball toy with a hole for treats that she will drop for herself to make the treats fall out, but if she's not getting anything out of it after a few minutes, she'll abandon that too. So I will often do this:
This is several of her toys tied together and she will shake and tug and play trying to get them apart. It's novel, so she's interested again.
I think it's important to do the same things in our classroom as our school year goes on. Change the layout of the room. Change out materials. The kids will walk into the room and notice that your desk is now turned the other way or a new bulletin board is up. I think I'm especially challenged to do this in the fall because my kids are very used to me and our routine. I am definitely going to change up my attention-getters this year and have been collecting a bunch of those to use.
I also plan to bring in this dollhouse that a neighbor made for my sister when we were little. (Great for for ESL kiddos I think-unusual vocabulary like fireplace poker or attic). I'm still thinking about new ideas for us, but whatever it is, we will have some novel changes this year throughout the year.