Getting children to stop and listen, especially if they’re engaged and engrossed in their activity (which, let’s face it, they are because you’re awesome at planning) can be a tricky ordeal.
The worst thing is to get into some sort of shouting match over the top of children’s voices. On the other hand, it’s also not so great to be loud if they’re working quietly and just calmly want their attention for two minutes. Here are five tried and tested methods to get your children to stop and listen! I think it’s good to use a combination to keep them (and you) on their toes!
Using a musical instrument can be effective because it’s clear immediately it’s not your voice and will stand out. I shake a tambourine which can be heard over slightly noisier classrooms. My colleague uses a chime which is loud, but is also great if they’re quieter and you don’t want to make them jump!
Clapping out a rhythm for them to copy is useful, as it not only does it mean they have to be quiet but they’ll have to put their pen/pencil down in order to do it properly (insist on this). I usually use this if I just want to pause them for a minute or two. Mix up the claps too – it’s easy to see who is listening and who isn’t!
3. Call and response.
So these are great! There are so many out there and I change mine up every half term to fit in with our topic. This term our topic was around food, so every time I called “okie dokie!” they would have to call back “arti-chokey.” This one is quite good as it means they immediately become quiet but they don’t necessarily have to completely stop an activity, perfect if they’re in the middle of art of something similar. Other examples are:
“stop right now,” – “thank you very much,”
“stop!” – “collaborate and listen,”
“everybody’s gone surfing” – “surfing USA!”
Make them as fun as you like!
4. Silent Simon Says.
Just start doing an action like tapping your head, making no noise. Move onto something else, then something else. Once one picks up on what you’re doing, others will follow. And it soon becomes a competition. It’s also very clear to see who is paying attention and you can dish out the praise like it’s going out of fashion. Quiet and positive behaviour management. #teacherwin
I like using countdowns when it’s not too noisy – for example if they’re having a minute of partner talk and know that they will have to be stopped soon. It sets them an expectation but also means you don’t have to raise your voice too much. 3,2,1 usually works.
Hope you like these five methods for getting quiet. Even with the best of intentions, sometimes there will always be children who don’t stop but mixing them up keeps them on their toes and coupled with really strong positive behaviour strategies and rewards, they can be really effective! Do you use any other strategies? If so, please share!
See you soon!