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Let’s face it; noise is part of the classroom. Whether it’s kids working on a project or coming in from recess, excited students can sometimes raise a ruckus. If you’ve tried the three fingers “stop, look and listen” trick and are at your wits end trying to quell the noise, thanks to Edutopia here are some other techniques you can employ to hush the bedlam and return to a learning environment. We’ve broken them down by age groups.

Kindergarten and early elementary

  1. Flick the light switch
  2. Capture attention with a wind chime or rain stick
  3. Pop pretend marshmallows into the mouth until they are full
  4. Fill a spray bottle with water infused with essential oils and call it a “quiet spray”
  5. Blow magical “hush-bubbles”

Late elementary and middle school

  1. Employ the “silent 20” – each time students return to seats and are quiet within 20 seconds following an activity, a token is advanced on a game board. When the final square is reached (in about a month) the class gets a popcorn party
  2. Engage students at the door before they enter the classroom to reinforce that learning is about to begin
  3. Utilize minimally invasive hand gestures and other non-confrontational techniques as shown in the Teach Like a Champion video
  4. Incorporate a content “word of the week” (such as integer, Freud, renaissance) to signal that it is time for silence

High school students

  1. Write a note that reads: “If you wish to continue talking during my lesson, I will have to take time from you at the break. By the time I’ve written the title on the board you need to be sitting in silence; anyone still talking will be kept behind for five minutes.”
  2. Play soothing classical music on low volume when students enter to create a professional tone.

Some instructors find that call and response sayings are useful, such as:

  • Holy…..macaroni
  • 1,2,3, eyes on me…..1,2, eyes on you
  • I’m incredible…..like the Hulk (everyone gives a grrrrr and flexes their muscles)
  • Ayyyy…..macarena
  • I get knocked down…..but I get up again

For those who like high tech options, there are:

  1. Too Noisy,” an app that shows a colorful graph with a digital noise meter to alert you and your students when the class has exceeded acceptable noise levels
  2. Traffic Light, that allows you to show when the levels are too loud and the remedy
  3. ClassDojo, which rewards students for successes and keeps parents apprised on how their students are doing

We know we’ve barely scratched the surface of great classroom/teacher ideas and we’d love to hear about some that you use.

Here are two more resources from California Casualty that can help educators:

  1. Let us help make setting up your classroom a little easier on your wallet with a $2,500 Academic Award at www.calcasacademicaward.com.
  2. Apply for a $200 Help Your Classroom grant at www.calcas.com/help-your-classroom.
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