1. Education
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.
Do you ever get tired of the sound of your own voice? Or of the sound of your repetitive "shoosh"ing?

Well, I'll be honest. Sometimes I do.

That's why I try to make it a habit to use these Nonverbal Ways to Quiet My Students so that I never get to the point of sounding like a broken record.

What's your favorite way to keep the noise level down in your classroom?


February 19, 2008 at 1:40 pm
(1) Brenda says:

A lot of parents use 1-2-3- Magic in order to gain compliance with their children and it works very well most of the time, so I have adapted it to a non-verbal cue, by raising my fingers toward a particular student or group 1-2-3. Usually by 2 they have settled right down, but definately by 3! Try it!

February 19, 2008 at 2:00 pm
(2) MA Forgach says:

I have 2 favorite ways.

I have chimes in my room that I use to signal I want silence.

I also turn off my lights

February 19, 2008 at 6:00 pm
(3) Kate says:

Music class is sometimes very loud. Usually I use a very soft voice and say if you can hear me raise your hand. I’ve said that up to 17 times on a bad day! Most recently I’ve begun to play a very soft minor chord and then a major chord and it seems to work for all ages.

February 19, 2008 at 6:08 pm
(4) Kimberly says:

I am an Art teacher of K-8th grade students. I have up to 30 in one class and 5 tables with groups of 5 to 7 students at each table. I always have “ART” written on the board and if it get too loud for me I erase one letter at a time. I usually pick up the erase and count down from 5 to 0 before erasing the letter, but the noise usually stops before I get to 0 and most of the time all I have to do is pick up the eraser and look at the word “ART” on the board and the kids will start to shoosh each other.

I have also tried (with some success) writing my message on the board instead of saying it out loud. They tend to quiet down as they start to read the message.

February 19, 2008 at 8:37 pm
(5) Sarah says:

I like to use clap patterns. The students will echo the pattern as a way to let you know they are listening or ready to do whatever the task may be.

February 19, 2008 at 9:57 pm
(6) imelda ho says:

i just stand in front of my students and say… louder girls!!! cant you hear you!!!

February 20, 2008 at 3:22 am
(7) Devi says:

I am Pre-school teacher. When the class gets noisy, I tell the child closest to me to get call the one furthest from me. Obviously he/she would call out loud, to the furthest kid, and when he turns towards me I mouth my words to him. In return when he/she doesn’t hear my voice, he/she quitens the rest of teh class to pay attention to what I say. “Shh…be quiet, I can’t hear what Auntie’s saying..”.

The class eventually quietens down. Now they all know that when I start on that ‘voiceless- words’, they are meant to be quiet. And a noisy class turns into muffled giggles and smiles.

February 20, 2008 at 6:10 am
(8) Norman says:

just not speaking helps, too.

After a few seconds (more or less) the students that are talking (whispering) realize that there’s no sound coming from elsewhere.

It quickly dawns on them that they’re the only ones talking!

Big advantage: you don’t have to shout at or insult them

February 20, 2008 at 10:48 am
(9) Gary McLeod says:

Rather than addressing the whole class, I find that if I speak directly to one or several of my students by name the rest will get the message and become attentive. Ex. “Jonny, please stop talking. Mary, pay attention please.” Usually, it takes only 2-3 corrections.

February 20, 2008 at 2:13 pm
(10) Iris says:

I find that quickly turning the lights on and off a couple of times usually does the trick to get everyone’s attention.

February 20, 2008 at 7:05 pm
(11) shannon says:

Sometimes I will start to whisper but still talk…after a few seconds the room slowly gets quiet so that students can “hear” me.

February 24, 2008 at 3:21 pm
(12) Rachel says:

To get the attention of my students I use the phrase, “Third graders clap once, clap twice, voices off.” I change the action to keep to keep them on their toes.

February 26, 2008 at 9:07 am
(13) Marcy Trinidad says:

I teach 15 year old girls. What I usually do is use the name of the person talking in the lesson. Example, if my lesson was about adverbs, I give an example using the girl’s name. With emphasis on the adverb: “Mary is talking LOUDLY right now.” That usually quiets them. :)

February 26, 2008 at 3:26 pm
(14) carol says:

any suggestions for high school age students!!

February 26, 2008 at 5:21 pm
(15) Jacky says:

With High School students, I certainly try not to embarrass or single them out. I put a post it note pad in my hand. Each time I am interrupted, I put a tally on it. I generally don’t ever have to say a word about why. The students start telling one another, “be quiet, she is marking points down!” Works like a charm.
If they need reminders or more reinforcement. we actually set a class goal for the least interruptions and when we reach a specific number, perhaps we will have a free day where students can participate in board games or select a class movie to watch.

February 26, 2008 at 7:38 pm
(16) Bob says:

I play soft background music. This alone often helps. In one class I taught I had a water fountain, if it got too noisy. I just said, let’s get it back to quiet enough to hear the water trickling. They would never admit it, but they love the peace just as much as we do at times.

February 27, 2008 at 5:53 am
(17) H says:

suggest that the caretaker needs somebody to help unblock a toilet!!

February 27, 2008 at 9:28 am
(18) Charlene says:

I teach Grade 2. If I am writing something on the board I find that the children tend to get noisy. I recently started choosing a child to stand up when I am writing to watch the class. That child tells me who the best behaved child in the class was. The child selected gets to watch the class the next time. This has worked really well for me.

February 27, 2008 at 10:58 am
(19) Jeneva Ingram says:

I begin class. I start talking as though they were quiet. I raise my hand to remind them of the elementary teachers training and usually the quiet down.

February 27, 2008 at 11:52 am
(20) Kunuthur Srinivasa Reddy says:

Communication efficiency and style to a great extent ensures noise free atmosphere in a class room. Topic diversion when student attention is getting reduced, would alert the students to listen to you. Discussion mode of teaching would be ideally helpful in ensuring noise free atmosphere. Class room noise is a sure indicator that the teacher is off the track in his quality of communication and teaching. It serves as a signal to the teacher to modify if not correct his/her deficiencies in teaching.

February 28, 2008 at 3:26 am
(21) margaret barker says:

I’m a relief teacher in Secondary Schools.
Close proximity always works. Find the noisest part, wander over,lean on back of student’s chair while talking. Some times I’ll go right to the back of the room so that they have to turn their heads around to hear me.
Sometimes I do lower primary. I’ve got frizzy hair. I tell them I’m Medusa and They’ll turn to stone if I stare at them. When the room gets noisy choose the “Alphs “student and stare.


February 29, 2008 at 6:13 am
(22) M. C. says:

I have found that to get my third grade students on task, I find a student who is doing the right thing and compliment them. Sometimes this is even a reward I call “caught being good”. These are little slips of paper they put their name on to add to a raffle. Once I compliment or reward several students, the rest of the class follows right into place.

March 2, 2008 at 9:09 am
(23) Darryl says:

I teach English at elementary schools in Japan and find that only saying “Stop, Stop, Stop! in a loud voice, having the students repeat in loud voices works well. After the students yell “Stop!” three times, they all are dismayed to find that their conversations have been severed and there’s nothing more to say to that friend. They are then looking at you for instructions for the next activity.

March 2, 2008 at 1:44 pm
(24) Mike says:

Great topic. I was really struggling as a teacher to try and get my kids to ‘quiet’ their voices. Especially in a timely manner. I learned that the louder I tended to get trying to get them quiet…the louder the classroom seemed to get. I have used many of the ‘tactics’ that the teachers have listed. One neat method I have tried out came from the movie Austin Powers, and the kids really seem to enjoy it. I will simply give a www. command and the classroom immediately knows to reply, “shhhhhhhhh” and then I add .COM. It gets their attention directed towards me, and they think it is kind of a fun thing to do. It usually gets them settled down and listening to what I have to say!

March 4, 2008 at 12:15 am
(25) cel says:

I stop whatever I’m doing, even at the middle of a lecture or group activity, stand in front of the class, not saying anything. I just stare at the noisiest child or group.
The “Power of Silence” really works.

March 4, 2008 at 1:20 am
(26) Malak says:

I used to stop the lesson for a while and tell the students there will be no lesoon if I hear a word .. so they keep silent for a while.. I felt there was a progress..

March 9, 2008 at 5:54 am
(27) maxine says:

I just stop what I’m doing and thank the cooperative kids…”thank you Danny, thanks,Roy, thanks Natalie” and so forth. It works like magic, even in high school. Everyone wants a compliment from the teacher.

March 11, 2008 at 3:28 pm
(28) Jimmie says:

I thought I made up the Quiet Game! I play it with my pre-k class. My version is a little different, however. I set a timer for 4 or 5 minutes. If they can stay quiet for the whole time, they win. The catch is that I try to trick them into talking by asking them questions. I want them to realize that they are in control of their behaviors.

March 17, 2008 at 5:42 pm
(29) Candice says:

I have my kindergarten students pretend that they have sparkly bubbles in their mouths. If they open their mouths, all of the bubbles will float away. Now I just have to pleasantly say “Hold your bubbles in” and they immediatly close their mouths and puff their cheeks out. They love it & it is much more positive than saying “STOP talking” all the time!

March 17, 2008 at 5:48 pm
(30) Candice says:

Oh! Another good one for kindergarten…
Identify one child who is doing what is expected and say to the entire class “Wow! Look at Johnny. He is sitting so quietly. Well done. I think I’ll give him a sticker.” Now watch in amazement as the rest of the class soon copies Johnny’s good behaviour.

April 7, 2008 at 3:50 am
(31) mukesh says:

I just entertain them and they keep quiet

April 7, 2008 at 3:55 am
(32) mukesh says:

I play games.

April 7, 2008 at 3:59 am
(33) mahesh says:

I clap my hands twice.

April 16, 2008 at 7:58 pm
(34) Alexa says:

I teach a very noisy second grade class. What works best is a “mystery jar” I have in the class. Before a lesson (for example: math meeting), I will pick a “mystery name” from popsicle sticks. If this student stays quiet the entire time, they get a ticket or prize. If this person talks (I usually explain that if I need to say their name even ONCE to keep them on task) they will not receive a prize. It works great. In the hall we use it too. Since it is a shorter time, the mystery person cannot say a word. At the end I reveal the person.
They LOVE this and it really works.

Another method to get them quiet is to play “I See”. The teacher says “I SEE!”, then the students respond “What do you see?” The teacher makes up actions, such as “Monkeys all around the room” or ” students touching their toes.” After about 2 or 3 commands, I change the commands to “Everyone lining up quietly”. This quietly gets them from point A to point B. They really love this.


September 14, 2009 at 2:35 pm
(35) Bob says:

This may not be nonverbal but ask your students to close their eyes and they will stop talking and moving. I sometimes add count to 20 to your self just to change it up from time to time. It’s pretty amazing how it works, give it a try. I once saw a teacher the made a paper noise meter. She would move the arrow on the meter according to how loud her class was. I don’t remember all of the details of exactly how she used it, but this might give you an idea of something you could accommodate for your class.

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.