I sit on a stool at the front of my class and raise my hand and then raise one finger at a time...if i get to the third finger and *everyone* has not quieted,then there are consequences. Needless to say,it only takes a day or two of practicing before they get it and i have yet to have to have handed out any consequences :)))
Years ago,when i also had a huge yarn needle on a long strand of bright red yarn. I would again go over to my stool and would raise the needle. This was a sign that I wanted it "quiet enough to hear a pin drop" ...older kids loved that one*chuckles*
They know I give them plenty of time for talking and sharing ideas and discoveries,so if i need them silent,they are either not on task,or something has come up that i need to share with them as a class or that it is wrapping it up time...
anyhooooooo..those are my two cents worth for the day :)