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Noisy makes me nuts! and frustrated! Art doesn't need to be noisy, and kids
who interrupt the teacher are being rude. Usually I just stop talking, and
WHISPER that I will begin the project when it is quiet. And I stick to it.
Sometimes we have to wait a looooooong time, but it works. Kids can, and
should, be taught good classroom manners early on. Does the classroom
teacher allow them to interrupt and call across the room? If so, there's a
bigger problem. It's very hard to teach when you are always calling for
quiet or are being interrupted.
Two other ideas for elementary classes:
Make a "noise thermometer" that measures from silence to TOO LOUD. Use a
clothes pin to mark where the class noise level is. (Fill in the "danger
zone" in red). This way kids can monitor when it's getting too loud. Set a
limit that if it goes into the danger zone 3 times, they have to work in
silence.(This could also be a radio with a volume control lever)
Make some clear rules, such as you can only talk in whispers - and have
them practice! Or that they can only talk with their next neighbors or kids
at the same table. Allow them to share their work at the end of class -
that's often what the discussion is..."look what I made!"
Listen to music. The rule can be that they can talk as long as you can hear
the music. When you can't hear the music, it's too loud. Pick out an
occasiional student and ask if he/she can hear the music.
In desperation with one really noisy group I turned to books on tape, or if
it was a project that I could let them work on without circulating, I read
them spooky stories or poetry in a very dramatic voice. This was pretty
As for interrupters....arrrrg! You should have the time you need to present
the material. "I look for hands" "I'll take comments later" or, finally,
"No materials until I have finished my demonstration." A few lost classes
are worth the potential frustration....
The do learn...but we have to teach them!