A few ways to grab the attention of elementary-age students include using a bell or whistle, writing a pop question on the board, using a visual aid and using call-and-response signals. Some methods for holding their attention include using humor and involving them in the lecture.
Bells, whistles and other props are helpful for grabbing the attention of younger elementary school students, clearly signaling the beginning of class as well as transitions. Writing a pop quiz question testing comprehension of the material gets students to focus on the topic at hand. Have students write the answer on a slip of paper and turn it in, and consider starting a related discussion afterward. Holding up a striking photo or other visual aid related to the class material can also hone students' focus.
Call-and-response signals are useful for getting students to focus on you when their attention begins to drift or they begin to talk amongst themselves. For instance, the teacher might say "one, two," and the students respond, "eyes on you." Changing the tone or volume of your voice is another attention-grabbing technique. To grab and hold the children's attention, tell a funny story related to the subject matter, or interrupt the lecture occasionally to ask students questions.