Classroom noise is ESSENTIAL to student learning… but sometimes the volume needs a remote right? Raise your hand if you have ever felt personally attacked by chatty students?! I know I have. It can be SO exhausting to manage chatty students ALL.DAY.LONG. So what’s the secret to taming those chatty kiddos and getting to work in silence for a little so you can hear yourself think? Get creative of course!!
In this post, I am going to teach you ALL the tips and tricks for helping not only teach students WHEN to use their voice, but also at what noise level is appropriate. Some kids just don’t realize how loud their voice is or how to control that and some explicit teaching is sometimes all they need. No matter what point in the year you are, this is ALWAYS a good thing to review when those noise levels get out of hand. So sit back and get ready for ALL the easy tips and tricks!
Teach the Expectations
Tip number one may be pretty obvious but you’ve GOT to TEACH the expectations. When teaching students all about their voice levels, it’s important to be BEYOND explicit. This leaves no room for wiggles. At the end of your lesson, students should know exactly what each voice level looks AND sounds like. This, more than anything, is going to be your bread and butter. It is how students will know precisely what is expected of them. You can’t just say “Ok kids, a level 3 voice is how I’m speaking right now”. No, you’ve got to show them and have them practice. Learn more about how I like to teach all procedures and expectations HERE!
Tip two is to give the students a great visual. Part of being explicit in your teaching is by showing instead of telling when it comes to the expectations. Below are a few of my favorite ways to truly help students understand their voice levels and see what each one actually sounds like during each activity time. THIS voice level chart with tap lights is an awesome visual reminder for students and looks great on the wall!
Provide individual voice level charts for students struggling and need more visual support.
Have you ever tried to show students how loud they really are? It’s actually a lot of fun for you and them! These are two of my favorite websites that give another great visual to show students just how loud they are! Bouncy Balls and Too Noisy are both fun and engaging ways to show students the power of their voice.
Another great way to calm and monitor voice levels is by simply playing music for students. I love to have students help create a classroom playlist, or you can choose a kid friendly station to play for them. I like to play classical for students and often find that they really enjoy it. This is a great tip to monitor the levels by informing students the volume of their voices should never match or be louder than the music that is playing. If they do get louder than the music, set the expectation that you will turn it off and that is incentive enough for them to control their volume. This is a great management tool for allowing students to talk and share as they work, while also being mindful of their noise level.
Practice, Practice, and Practice Some More
Trick number three is CRUCIAL. After you’ve explicitly taught all the expectations, now comes the second most important piece… it’s time to practice, practice, and practice some more! Below is a list of my favorite ways for students to practice:
Whole Class Sort – Whole class sorts are a great way to work together to help students listen to determine what volume matches the correct voice level.
Writing Craft – Who doesn’t love a good craft?! Students will love reflecting on their new learning about noise by completing this adorable craft.
Voice Volume Charades – Charades is always a fan favorite. Have students act out different scenarios to determine which voice level fits best. They will love acting out clues and using their level 3 voices to guess!
Role Play Scenarios – Use THESE slides to role play different voice level scenarios to really help students understand what voice level fits where!
The Quiet Game – A classic for good reason. Students REALLY struggling to control themselves? It’s time to make it into a good old game of healthy competition. Explain the rules and see who can stay quietest the longest. Make a simple reward like sitting where you want for a day or writing with a pen. Something simple, but easy to manage and you get to watch them THRIVE!
Morning Greeting Practice – HERE’S another fun way to practice voice control when students are struggling!
Check out the Voice Level Management Pack! It is a jam packed bundle full of fun and engaging activities to help students truly understand their voice levels when to use them effectively.
Tip four is to use my favorite classroom resource: BOOKS! There is awesome literature out there that helps to teach students about the noise levels of their voice and when are the best times to use it. Two of my favorites read alouds are Decibella and her 6 in Voice and Lacey Walker Nonstop Talker.
These stories really help students learn in engaging ways that make it relevant to them because it allows them to make connections to their own voice in the classroom.
The struggle is REAL! Sometimes it’s just going to be a challenge and that’s OK. Maybe it’s right before break and EVERYONE is way too excited to control their voice level. Maybe it’s that crazy month of October when it seems that students have forgotten ALL expectations. So tip five is to remember that, no matter what, focus on going back to the basics. This means go review those expectations using looks like/sounds like and make it FUN! It’s all about giving yourselves grace, while continuing to work towards your goals. Help students achieve a class reward when they are using the classroom voice levels expectations. See a fun and easy example idea below and grab this FREEBIE!
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I hope you enjoyed learning all about voice levels. These are CRUCIAL life skills for students! Let’s help students not only be successful, but have FUN doing it! Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list! Not only will you get the most up to date tips, tricks, and classroom projects… and of course more fun FREEBIES including Class Reward FREEBIE! You will also have exclusive access to tons of digital how to videos! If you would like to learn about this and other things happening in my classroom follow me @sweetnsauerfirsties on Instagram.
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