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Did your elementary(or grammar)-school teacher call for attention like this?
sand3 wrote in little_details
So with classes of small children, teachers will often have rhymes or special claps to call the children's attention when it's wandered, I'm wondering about one I remember form childhood where the teacher would call out "One Two Three! Eyes on me!"

I'm trying to figure out how long it's been being used and how wide-spread. So this is more a survey than anything, if you can remember a teacher saying this, could you tell me how old you are and what country you grew up in? If under 30 and American, just go ahead and ignore this post.


UK. Over 60. Not yet 70.

Over 30 and American, attended 8 schools from k-12, never heard of this saying.

(couldn't tell if you meant and/or with the American part, so...)

Yes. We had that one along with "four on the floor" (meaning four chair legs, no leaning back in the chair). 1970s, northern Illinois schools.

Had that too. This was mid 80's in New Jersey and Catholic school too. Teachers were at least in their 60s or 70s at that point.

I'm over 30, USA, and I don't remember this specifically, but it also seems like the sort of thing that a lot of teachers might come up with independently or that might be popularized in a bunch of different waves over time (simple rhyming stock phrase for classroom management) so it wouldn't alarm me if it turned up in a classroom setting any time after about 1870.

I don't remember it from when I was in school (42, went to grade school in New York). I learned it and used it when I was a teacher in the mid-90s in Maryland.

In my son's school (2nd grade, Central Florida), there's a clapping pattern that they use (2 slow, 3 fast). If the teachers do it, the kids are supposed to stop what they're doing and respond the same way.

Several teachers in Halifax, NS (Canada) use the same clapping rhythm as well. I work at a popular field trip location so we hear the clapping often.

Less often, we'll hear "ears open, mouths closed!" but only once have I heard the rhyme in the OP's question.

(I can't contribute towards the childhood memories in the post since I was in French immersion from grade 1.)

Edited at 2014-04-08 09:02 pm (UTC)

55 (today!) and American, and no.

Happy birthday!

(53; American; never heard it throughout my public schooling in the Dayton, Ohio area.

My elementary-school gym coach did subject us to this, though; it was the official anthem of President Kennedy's Council on Physical Fitness:

Over 30, American, attended preschool, a different school K-3 (four teachers total), a multiple-teacher school grades 4-8, and high school, and never heard this from any of the myriad teachers I had during that time.

Mid-40s and UK, and I don't remember anything like this.

Never heard of it before. Also, I don't recall any sort of rhyming or catch-phrase being used; as best I can remember, teachers just said something like "Let's get started" or "Settle down" or other ordinary phrases. Mid-40s, Midwestern US.

France and in my 20s. I heard it once or twice when I was in preschool. And I never heard it again after.

24, from the UK - it's not something I remember ever hearing.

24, Canada, Early Childhood Educator. Don't remember hearing it until about five years ago at one of my college placements. I hate that phrase so much. Almost as much as "crisscross apple sauce".

I know I've heard it, but never in my school (50 in five days, attended school in Southern Indiana and Central Florida). I can't remember where I've heard it, actually, since I don't have kids myself.

Australia, late 30s, never heard this or anything similar. A teacher might say "Quiet down," or "Eyes on the board", or "Heads down bums up" when we were meant to be working, but no rhymes or claps.

I used it when I worked at a day care. The kids would respond "One! Two! Eyes on you!"

I'm a 37 year old American.

I remember this and the response from first and second grade. Age 51, American from Connecticut, so that would have been 1968-69.

Edited at 2014-04-09 02:51 am (UTC)

Never heard this expression. I attended elementary schools in California and Texas, 1953 through 1961.

Australia, 1990s: my daughter tells me they definitely had a "triple-clap" for K-3 classes, but does not recall a spoken rhyme. However she wouldn't be surprised if a teacher used one, just that it would vary from person to person.

Age 56, midwestern US public schools, never heard of this.

US, I am 23, but my 40 year old Shaolin Kempo instructor uses one that goes, focus clap one (everyone claps) focus clap 2 (clap twice) eyes on who? You!

Edited at 2014-04-08 11:56 pm (UTC)

My teachers never used it. (New England area of US, public school, in the 1970s-early 80s.)

Never heard that one—maybe the occasional, "Eyes front," but no claps. 50, California.

We did the Presidential Fitness Test, but I never heard the Chicken Fat song until today! I did hear "Four on the floor or out the door" all through school, though.

The song is, of course, portraying Chicken Fat as something abhorrent, but I can imagine that choice of metaphor backfiring with some Jews: "Mmmm, schmaltz!"

Late twenties. Canada. No. I only remember the 2 slow claps followed by the 3 fast claps.

In my early thirties, schooled mostly on the US East Coast. Can't recall if a specific teacher of mine used it, or if I just heard someone else use it, but I have heard it before. Jives with what ladysmith said about teaching in the 90s. That's when I was in school in Maryland. Before that I was in central Europe, and definitely didn't hear it there.

never heard it
Northeast USA 1950's

My fresh-out-of-college 7th grade teacher tried it on us once. It didn't go so well for her.

Um, over 30, American.

I'm in the UK, I'm in my mid thirties, and I've worked in education. I've never heard this or anything like it.

40-50 range, American, grew up in New York.

I don't recall a rhyme, but one of my teachers (most hated by most people) had one of those "service bells" on her desk. The silver kind where you hit the button on the top and it rings a bell, used to let employees know that a customer is at the counter. She'd pound the heck out of it when people weren't paying attention.

50 - Don't remember it being used at all when I was a student, but it is huge at the school I've worked at the last seven years.

Never heard it in public school during the seventies. It is in wide use at the public school I work at now in Virginia. The earliest I recall hearing it used was by a teacher friend in the nineties, again in Virginia.

I heard it first in the Olivia cartoons.

31, went to elementary school between New Mexico and Colorado. I seem to recall a couple of my teachers using the clapping thing, but not all of them. None used any sort of rhyme, however.

Forgot to mention dates. This would have been the tail end of the '80s to the early '90s.

15, Australian. It was uncommon (the 2 slow/3 fast claps were ubitiquous), but I recall hearing it a few times. Depended on the individual teacher's quirks.

Edited at 2014-04-10 07:10 am (UTC)

Irish, in my early 30s, definitely not. A lot of classroom instructions were given in Irish anyway when I was in primary school. I can't remember any equivalent to "eyes on me" though. The closest I can come is "cúineas" (quiet).

As a teacher myself, I still sometimes give instructions like "sit down" and "turn around" in Irish, which makes my students laugh, as I teach English and History.


I'm American, but this looked interesting and I liked reading the other comments, so...

That strategy is called "call and response" here, and can include chants, claps (also called "echo clapping"), and even silent signals like raising your hand and counting down on your fingers (the students would respond with a signal also, like the "quiet sign" aka the peace sign). I don't recall it from my school days (California, starting from 1985), but it was already being taught as a must-use classroom management strategy to future teachers when I entered the preparatory program in college in 1999.


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