Classroom Noise Control
Do your students struggle with their volume control when you’re working on fun activities? Same! This was probably the number one thing I struggled with when I was in the classroom. I have a loud voice, and my students would follow suit. Plus, I have a high tolerance for noise, so it never really bothered me! However, when classroom walls are thing, classroom noise can become an issue for neighboring classes.
Because this has always been such a big struggle for me, over the years I have tried many different noise management strategies. The following list is a compilation of my favorite strategies. Just remember – every class is different, so trial and error is key! Find what works for your class and switch it up as needed.
Noise in Classroom
First of all, let me just say that I do not believe a noisy classroom means your students are disengaged or chaotic. Often, it just means that they are REALLY enjoying class! Isn’t that the ultimate goal? If you’re dealing with a noisy classroom – you must be doing something right!
However, it can become an issue when a) other classes are disturbed, and b) when we are unable to get our class’s attention because of the noise. Therefore, it is important that we have a few strategies in our back pocket for noise management.
Establishing Classroom Noise Levels
One strategy that many teachers use for classroom noise management is using noise or voice levels. This is some sort of visual scale on which the teacher can indicate the expected volume level for students. You can find many versions of this on Teachers Pay Teachers – I personally use this freebie from Miss 5th.
I added a 6-inch ruler in between voice levels 2 and 3 as a reference to the book Decibella (affiliate link*). A 6-inch voice is between a whisper and your regular voice – a voice that only someone up to 6 inches away from you should be able to hear. I would read the book to my class, then discuss examples of appropriate times to use each voice level. I attached the voice levels to my whiteboard and used a magnet to indicate which level the students should be maintaining.
Other Noise Management Ideas
Sometimes, you have an extra chatty class and simply relying on voice levels isn’t cutting it. Time to pull out all the stops! Here are some of my favorite classroom noise management ideas.
This strategy involves either adding or removing a letter of the word “NOISE” anytime the class gets too loud. Whenever my class would get too loud, I would add one letter to the board. If they successfully worked quietly for a long period of time, I would remove a letter. If they got too loud again, I added a letter. At any point, if all 5 letters were up, there would be a consequence. (This strategy is included as part of my Behavior Management Bundle!)
2. Add it to your Reward Board.
If you have a classroom reward board (you can read about this here), add a few goals of staying quiet for ___ amount of time! I usually set the goal to keep the appropriate voice level during an entire assignment. For example, independent work should always be done at a level 0 (no talking). So, one of my sticky notes might be “Everyone stays at level 0 during independent work.” The first time this happens on an assignment, I remove the sticky note!
If you’re really struggling, you could make a reward board devoted entirely to classroom noise management. It can be a small board with 9-12 sticky notes. You could simply number them and remove one each time your class does a great job, or you could set more specific noise management goals.
3. Bouncy Balls Classroom Noise Monitor
I found this free online tool awhile back that my kids loved using! You have to turn the microphone on on your computer so it will pick up background noise. When the microphone picks up noise, the balls will start to move. It will even send a message when things get too loud! This is a good visual for kids, and you can add in consequences as necessary.
How do you manage noise levels in your classroom? Share your tricks in the comments below!
* Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means that, at no extra cost to you, I receive a small commission when you click through from my site and make a purchase.