20 alone or with an assistant?
It sounds like you need to go back to basics for a few days and practice routines and expectations. I have a desk bell (like the old timey hotel lobby bells) that I ring and my class freezes, looks and listens. Whenever we have new students join the class, we show and practice this. Whenever I ring it, my assistants work the room and guide any who need help to follow the expectation.
Silly and tricking things usually do not work. Just explain, short and sweet and to the point and practice.
I never begin circle until the group is settled. If activities are missed, that is a natural consequence. However, pointing who is ready and what they are doing to be ready often helps as well as showing them this is how we sit.
During our work time while I am giving lessons, my assistants work the rooms stopping any undesired behavior and guiding to what we want them to do. The more they are working with their hands, the more they settle in.
Any who are repeatedly acting out, I have come sit or walk with me and have them watch what I am doing quietly for a while then show them a work to do.
Also, you may need to speak to parents about bedtimes, good balanced breakfasts and such.
Rearranging your room may help, too. When it is more than a couple having difficulty, look at if the works are drawing them to be busy or if they are just playing and running around. Move furniture, take things away and put out new things, give a couple of group lessons on things everyone is ready to do and send off to work with a destination (Are you going to work on a carpet or table? Are you going to choose a science work or counting work?).
Get outside as much as possible. In addition to recess, we often work outside.
Sent: 02-13-2023 19:35
From: Anonymous Member
Subject: how to get kids attention without having to yell.
This message was posted by a user wishing to remain anonymous
I'm currently in a little pickle trying to get my class to calm down and listen to my instructions. But it seems like the only way I can get their attention is raising my voice (not yelling but projecting). I'm trying to figure out how to get them to stop what they're doing and follow directions. I tried a silly horn, a song, a phrase, the lights off, the lights flickering, time transitions, and nothing is working. Mind you I have 20 preschoolers.