Tag Archives: classroom management

How to keep a YOUNG LEARNERS class QUIET

27 Aug

After ignoring wordpress most of the summer… Here I am back to blogging! Some of you have already gone back to school, others like me are counting the few days left of freedom we have. Even if you are already back to work or not, I am sure you will like to read this article.

OXFORD MAGAZINE for Preschool and Primary has always got really interesting articles for TEFL teachers. I follow their online magazine and I like to share the articles I like the most or the ones I think that can be interesting for other teachers.


This time, the article is about “How to keep a young learners class quiet“:

It is somewhat inevitable that young learners will get rambunctious and noisy in class at times. Trying to shout above them is often an impossible feat and ends up hurting your vocal chords more than calming them down. There are lots of different tricks and techniques that can be used to save your voice and help little ones get back on track. Here are a few suggestions.

Hands up, cross arms, head down

Ask children to raise their arms, cross their arms, and then put their heads down on their desk or table. When they have calmed down, continue.

Stop! Look! Listen!

Make a sign or poster for class with a stop sign, eyes, ears. Ring a bell and drill the ‘stop, look, listen’ routine. Make it like a game and congratulate children when they do the routine well.


Clap your hands with a specific beat and encourage children to copy the beat. Do this a couple of times until everyone is back on task.

Multi-sensory silencers

Sometimes with very young learners it’s enough to distract their attention with something they are not expecting. For example, the sound of a wind chime or using a vaporizer to spray some scented water as you walk around class. There is also the possibility of using a tool like the Too Noisy app(for phones or PCs) where children can see how much noise they are making.

Ready for responses

Teach children different responses to things you might say in class. For example, I am what I am (teacher says, “I am” the class respond “what I am”). Other catchy phrases could include:Impossible is nothing, Just do it!, See you later alligator, Zig-zag.


Assign different children in class the job of quieting down the other children at their table or in their area. When indicated, the helpers try to ‘shush’ the children around them. If they do well, they can be given praise or a small prize.


Raise your hand and explain to the class that they need to be quiet and raise their hands before the countdown is over. Numbers can be written on the board, shown on flashcards or on your hand. Practice the countdown technique as fun activity before using it in class to calm children down. It’s important they are familiar with the technique before it’s used and remember to praise them if they do it well.


Play some music that the children like as they are working. Explain that if they get too noisy you will have to turn the music off.

Sand Timer

Explain to the class that when they get too noisy they will lose time from other activities or from break time. When they get noisy show the timer or show them the stopwatch and keep track of the minutes they lose on the board. So, if they ‘lose’ 5 minutes, that means, for example, 5 minutes less playing Simon Says or Bingo.

Everybody Up Song: Please Be Quiet!

In this short song children learn to be quiet and to say sorry when they are making too much noise.

Stop that Noise (Jazz Chant by Carolyn Graham)

Carolyn Graham’s Jazz Chant about keeping quiet can be taught to the class then used to quiet them down when things go haywire.

Teacher: Sh! Sh! Stop that noise!

Chorus: Sh! Sh! Stop that noise!
Sh! Sh! Stop that noise!

Teacher: Come on girls,
Tell all the boys.
Tell all the boys,
To stop that noise!

Girls: Please be quiet.
Stop that noise!
Please be quiet.
Stop that noise!

Teacher: Come on boys,
Tell all the girls.
Tell all the girls,
To stop that noise!

Boys: Shut up girls!
Stop that noise!
Shut up girls!
Stop that noise!

Teacher: Come on girls,
Come on boys.
Tell everybody,
To stop that noise!

Chorus: Sh! Sh! Stop that noise!
Sh! Sh! Stop that noise!
Sh! Sh! Stop that noise!

Teacher: Tell all the boys
To stop that noise!

Here is a video of some children in year 2 in northern Spain using the chant in class.

Signaling Classroom Transitions with Songs

Helping students know where they should be going and what they should be doing can cut down on classroom noise.

Keep in mind that it’s important to vary techniques and to experiment with new methods. Things that work in one group might not work in another group so be prepared to adapt and change according to your needs, and the children’s needs.

NON-VERBAL classroom management

22 Jun

I would like to share with you these great tips by Tammi Pittaro (her blog–> presentlygifted.org.)

What does nonverbal classroom management look like and how can a teacher keep students focused on learning without using words or sounds? Here are five very simple, no-cost, low-tech ways that have worked for me over the years.

1. One, Two, Three…Eyes on Me!

I have found that making eye contact with each child early and often in the day or the period helps him or her stay on track in the classroom. I make sure I greet each student warmly by name and look him or her in the eye upon entering my classroom. Then, during direct teaching or working with a few students, I make sure I continue to do so. Students are more likely to stay on task and behave appropriately when they know the teacher is watching. Making eye contact, especially in Western cultures, signifies respect, interest, appreciation, trust and friendship. It’s an important skill to teach young children and to model as you teach.

2. Work the room

Where you stand or teach can make a big difference. Moving around as you teach helps keep your students focused. Without skipping a beat, you can move nearer to those students who might be distracted or fooling around. Your proximity will send a message to get back to business, and you don’t usually have to say a word. Pause for a few moments near the student who has been off-task and teach from there for a bit before moving on. A little eye contact helps here as well. A good practice while students are working independently or in small groups is to keep moving among them. I’ve observed (and experienced first hand) that when teachers sit, trouble can be brewing at the opposite end of the classroom! And most of us can use the extra physical activity!

3. Sign Language

I found sign language posters by Rick Morris (www.newmanagement.com) years ago, and I have used them ever since with students in grades K through 8. I use the first five, although he has now has fourteen in all. I have them posted in my classroom and teach them the first day of school. They are easy for the students to learn and very effective, especially in larger groups. Students like them, too! Check out Rick’s website for more good tips!

4. Keep a silent eye on the clock (or your watch)

Want to get your class quiet quickly? Just look at the clock, or your watch, assume a sad expression and shake your head just a bit. Don’t say a word! Your students will get the message loud and clear. If you deduct the time you have waited from allotted preferred activity time, such as recess or classroom games (see Tools for Teaching: Discipline, Instruction, Motivation by Fred Jones), you won’t have to wait very often for silence. I first observed this during student teaching by an experienced teacher, and it still works after all these years!

5. “S-O-R-R-Y”

In my experience, this is really effective in the primary and elementary grades. On the first day of school, explain to your students that if you ever have to write SORRY on the board, it will mean that the class has lost a privilege they enjoy, such as free time or recess. When undesired behaviors occur, start to print the word “S-O-R-R-Y” one letter at a time on the board without making a big deal about it. Don’t erase the any of the letters you have written until the end of the day or after the preferred activity. Rarely will you get to “Y.” I promise! Works like a charm.


20 Nov

Today at school, we had a very inspiring staff meeting. We spoke about many practical things that we need to improve and we came up with some ideas that we will put into practise altogether as a team.

I am very happy when at school we can have these relaxed moments to share our worries and help each other find solutions.

This image I am sharing in this post summarizes a bit what we were speaking about today in the meeting. Seeing it written like this makes me feel it will be possible and that we will manage to make things work even better that we are doing now.


Keeping Classroom Management Friendly

16 Oct


The Ardent Teacher

I have found that really working on building trusting relationships with my students is the best tool I have ever had for classroom management. Once your students trust you and respect you, the level of required classroom management drops significantly. I try to keep my classroom fun and feeling safe to them. Teenagers already feel targeted by adults and are so sensitive to any punishment; this is why I try to make my classroom management strategies more ‘friendly’ than serious as they are less likely to blow up and freak out. Here are my ‘friendly’ classroom management techniques:

Photo Credit: www.theardentteacher.com Photo Credit: http://www.theardentteacher.com

We all remember being students and having to raise our hand for help. Sometimes it felt like it took the teacher forever to get to us- our hand would start to fall asleep, our muscles would weaken and it gave us to perfect opportunity to whine! THIS method eliminates…

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