It can be a constant battle to create dynamic, collaborative lessons that engage students without disturbing neighboring classrooms that may be in need of quiet for testing, writing, lecturing, or other, more subdued activity. I loathe nagging or yelling at students to quiet down, especially when they are loudly engaging in my class content! Today I'm sharing a few tips, but we'd love to hear your strategies for striking that balance, so feel free to comment below!
1. Noise Down App: Noise Down is an app for iOS devices, available through the iTunes Store. It allows you to set a limit on the noise level in the room. An alarm goes off when the noise level is surpassed to signal to students to take it down a notch.
2. Lights Low: I'm not sure the exact reason this works, but extensive experience tells me that when the lights are low/off, students tend to stay quieter. The trick is keeping the lights low enough to have an effect, but high enough for students to see what they are doing.
3. Softly Spoken Instructions: When the teacher speaks quietly, students must be quiet to hear instructions. It also unnerves them a bit, which helps maintain a lower noise level.
4. Online Collaboration: You can cut down on a lot of the noise of student discussion, by bringing the conversation online through collaborize classroom, google presentations, schoology, or other discussion platform. (Click on the links for more on each tech tool.) Sometimes, I project the live feed of the discussion as a classroom tool so we can stop and chat at times and then take the conversation back online.
5. Change of Scenery: When I do certain collaborative projects or Socratic seminars, the lobby of our school gym or green spaces around campus (when the weather is right) can be perfect alternatives to my normal stuffy classroom.