Thursday, August 15, 2013

Quiet Down, Class!: Managing Voice Levels in the Classroom

Here's the scenario: You ask your students to partner talk. As soon as you say, "go" the classroom erupts in noise. Your classroom is so loud, partners have to talk in their own teacher voice to be heard by the person sitting right next to them. Yikes! Read on to find how I tackle this common voice level problem...


One of the first things I teach my students at the beginning of the school year is voice level control. I want my students to know that during certain activities, the expectations on how loud the classroom should be are different. This is also one of the easiest management strategies to teach because the kids love practicing changing their voice levels. 

Primary students and intermediate students alike respond well to a visual reminder of their expectations. That's why a voice level chart is so important to have hanging my classroom! 




This year, I decided to update the voice level chart I'd been using for the past 4 school years. I included 6 voice levels, from zero voice to outside voice, and included what the voice level sounds like in the classroom and when that voice level is used. I attached it to string and will use a clothespin to change what voice level I want my students to be at (see photo above). This was simple to make and an easy way to remind students of voice level expectations! 

Here is the voice level chart I used in the past...



I used 5 cards in 5 different colors. Each color has a number to indicate the voice level I want students to be at. I attached the laminated cards to a binder ring so it was easy to hang on my whiteboard. When I wanted the voice level to change, I would simply flip the card. At the beginning of the school year, we would frequently practice what each number meant.



Voice level charts are easy to make and an important tool in the classroom! Come back soon as I will be adding my current voice level chart to my freebie page! 


How do you manage student voice levels in the classroom?? 


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