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Re: Noise in elem classroom/ideas


Date: Wed Nov 08 2000 - 15:32:57 PST

In a message dated 11/7/00 11:06:29 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

> Is it really possible to get 2nd, 3rd, 4th grades to work silently? Using
> inside voices escalates quickly into loud noise. Working silently only
> seems to work for 5 minutes or less and then turns into noise. Am I just
> spinning my wheels. As long as they're working, should I relax and let them
> talk? Also. ,my art room tables are long cafeteria tables (12 to a table).

If the kids are really working- I mean on task and not fooling around, then
why do they need to be silent? I only have a problem if the mouths are going
and the hands and brains are not. I let my kids spread out whenever
possible. Although they sit 4 at a table at 6 tables, whenever I can I give
them the freedom to work on the floor if they are comfortable that way. Of
course, my 40 ft.x40 ft. room allows for this. The noise level seems to
become lower when they are more spread out, so, if you have the room spread
them out.

Don't know if you have any kids of your own, but I have used this philosophy
with my own kids (and they grew up fine), as I do in my classroom: (1) Pick
your battles (2) If it works for you, do it!

I think it's important to be able to get them quiet whenever you need to get
their immediate attention, when you have to give an instruction, etc. Here's
a suggestion that I have developed that has always worked for me within the 3
entirely different populations I have taught over the years: I have a bell,
the kind you tap in the top to ring. I ask the kids to stop talking, look at
me, and fold their hands on the table when I ring the bell. I call this
"Grandmother's FIngers".

Why "Grandmother's Fingers"'s my story- well, you see, I have a
grandmother whom I visit every day after school. I tell my grandmother all
about you and about all the great art you're doing. She sits in her chair
with her hands folded and her eyes looking right into mine, so I know she's
really listening to me. So, when I ask you for "Grandmother's Fingers" it
reminds me of my dear sweet grandmother!

When I ring that bell, you can hear a pin drop. Every kid has the
grandmother's fingers. I know, I've developed a Pavlov's dogs thing, but,
hey, works for me. Sometimes I don't want them to stop working, just stop
talking and listen to what I have to say. In that case, after the bell I say,
"You may continue working but your mouths are frozen shut and your ears are
frozen to sounds of my voice."

Hope this gives you a few new ideas....Susan on Long Island