Do your students get a little noisy or chatty during independent work time? In this post, I share 5 tips to help you keep your classroom noise level under control!
Photo Credits: vgstudio, Shutterstock
Tip #1: Use a soft, calm voice right before students go off to work independently.
When I’m getting my students ready for centers or any other kind of independent work, I remind them of expectations—and I use a very soft, calm voice to do so.
In fact, I usually give last-minute directions in a voice so quiet that it’s almost a whisper! And students tend to follow suit, whispering right back.
Our own demeanor and voice level can really set the tone for students. Yes, the noise level usually goes up after students go off to work. But when you START with a very quiet, calm classroom, the noise level usually stays manageable—at least for a while!
Tip #2: Assign a noise level monitor OR a group leader for each group.
If you have your students work in center groups, choose one student to be the leader. The leader can be responsible for monitoring the noise level of the group members.
If students aren’t working in groups, you can assign a noise level monitor for the entire class. The noise level monitor can keep a chime next to her and ring it if the noise level of the class gets to be too high.
Tip #3: Teach students a quick clapping pattern to remind them that the noise level is too high.
If your students are too noisy, the LAST thing you want to do is yell over them, right?!
I like to teach students a little clapping signal to remind them to lower their voices. If students become too noisy, you simply clap the pattern, students clap to imitate the pattern, and then (hopefully) they get a little quieter!
Tip #4: Pure bribery. Plain and simple. 😛
Let’s call this one “motivation to work together as a classroom community” instead of “bribery,” okay?! 😂
I like to keep a classroom marble jar. When I see students working together and doing the right thing as a class, I add marbles to the jar. For example, if students are working quietly during centers, I may add marbles to the jar. When we fill the jar, we have some kind of reward—like extra recess, extra indoor playtime, etc.
However, I do remove marbles sometimes. When we’re having a lot of trouble with noise level, I’ll take the marble jar and keep it next to me at the guided reading table. If the students working independently are getting too loud, I remove marbles from the jar. And I do it noisily so they can hear me! This quiets them down pretty quickly.
Tip #5: Use a techy noise level tool.
Full disclosure, I haven’t tried any of these myself. Usually tips 1-4 work for my students, but I’ve also heard that teachers love some of these tools:
Classroom Noise Meter from ClassDojo: https://www.classdojo.com/toolkit/noisemeter/
Bouncy Balls: https://bouncyballs.org/
Tip #6 BONUS!
If you find that having a student work with their peers just ISN’T working right now, consider modifying the type of work you assign.
As much as I love partner games and group activities, sometimes a student (or students) just need to master working by themselves first. And that’s okay!
If you need engaging “solo” activities so that students can strengthen their independent work skills, check out my Solo Literacy Centers.
Many of the solo literacy center activities are designed to feel “game-like” – they’re not your average worksheet! They provide meaningful independent practice for those times when you need students to work on their own.
Do you have any fantastic tips for helping your students keep their voices down? I’d love it if you’d share in a comment!