I don't know about you, but I have noticed that the "honeymoon" period is over in my classroom. My students have revealed their true selves! Can you believe that they don't pay attention to the directions I have projected on my computer screen or written on the board? Notice that I'm being sarcastic :) ?
Depending on the type of directions that you are writing on the board, you may be able to get away with just using a picture or pictures to describe the task. For example, the other day I didn't want my students to log onto their computers. When I have written the instructions on the board, it is often ignored! The other day I tried something new. I put a "No Computers" sign (see picture) on my board. Can you imagine my excitment when my students actually got it? Usually there are about 3 to 4 students who just don't understand or look at the directions. Imagine my excitement when every single student got it!
I tried taking this a step further when I needed my students to open up their PowerPoint projects up to start peer editing. Once again it worked! As students were walking into my room, they made it a game to see who could recognize the message first. Then they started quizzing their friends if they "got it."
I know you may be thinking, why is this guy writing about this? The reason why I write this is because sometimes you need to switch things up every once and awhile to keep your students engaged and paying attention. This is a very low tech way of having some fun with students who are ready for upcoming holiday breaks!
Something as simple as using pictures to represent simple directions may work. NOTE: I wouldn't recommend doing this all of the time (because it loses its purpose) or for complex instructions (because students may become confused).