Noisy Class? Try This One Simple Strategy that Works

You’ve probably tried all the commonly recommended ways to quiet a chatty class, only to be left frustrated by the lack of results. If you’re anything like me, you’ve tried everything from blurt beans to quiet signals and noise level posters. It can be so defeating to feel like you’ve tried it all, and nothing is working to tame your chatty class.

It’s no secret that it can be a real challenge to establish a productive classroom with excessively chatty students. It can be overwhelming for both the teacher and the students when the noise level is continually much too high. Don’t get discouraged before trying this simple technique that was given to me years ago by our former reading specialist who is truly one of the most amazing educators I have ever met.

NOISE Strategy

This strategy is my go to because IT ACTUALLY WORKS. It was given to me almost 7 years ago when I was a new teacher. To this day, it is my favorite way to manage a noisy class. Simply have the letters N-O-I-S-E displayed in your classroom. Establish clear expectations as to what voice level is acceptable. Each time the class gets above that voice level, take away a letter.

Students get three chances to take control of the noise, and turn it down. If they lose three letters and get down to N-O, then they lose a privilege. Almost always, students are able to get back to a reasonable voice level before getting down to those two letters. The best part about this strategy is that students begin to take the lead and hold one another accountable.

Ways to Display NOISE Letters

The way you display the NOISE letters is entirely up to you! It can be as simple or as cute as you want. For the longest time, all I did was use a dry erase marker to write N-O-I-S-E on the whiteboard. Each time students became louder than expected, they had to erase a letter, starting with E. It wasn’t fancy, but it worked!

Other way to display the NOISE letters include magnetic letters, wooden letters, and push lights.

Magnetic Letters

This is how I currently have NOISE displayed in my classroom. Simply print the letters on cardstock, laminate, cut and stick magnets on the letter cards. These FREE printable NOISE letters are available in my store.

Wooden Letters

If you are the crafty type, you could always get wooden letters from the craft store or Amazon, and paint them to match your classroom! After painting, attach each letter to a piece of ribbon using hot glue. Then, hang in your classroom as a practical classroom decoration that doubles as a classroom management tool!

Push Lights

For another fun twist using the NOISE strategy, get a pack of push lights available on Amazon and a pack of sticky letters to create your own NOISE lights. Start each day with all five N-O-I-S-E lights on, and turn a light off for each time the students exceed the noise expectation.

Setting Clear Expectations

A common problem for students when it comes to meeting and maintaining noise level expectations is not understanding (or simply not remembering) exactly what is expected. A great tool that sets a constant reminder of noise level expectations is music.

I recommend playing background music at the volume at which you would like for students to keep their voice level. Each time students exceed that volume or become louder than the music, they lose a letter.

More Tips and Tricks

Allow Time to Talk

Allow students plenty of opportunities throughout the day for group discussions and turn and talk. Sometimes students are just itching to talk. It’s a perfectly normal part of being a kid. Allowing structured time for students to talk will help eliminate some of the extra chatter when it comes time to work.

Schedule periodic brain breaks.

It can be hard to set aside time for brain breaks, but I promise you will maximize productivity of your students by allowing them periodic breaks throughout the day. Kids get burnt out to, which might lead to excessive noisiness or even behavior problems. Here are some easy brain breaks that work for all ages:

  • Dance Party
  • Simon Says
  • Act it Out
  • Go Noodle
  • Charades

Provide Kinesthetic Opportunities

Provide opportunities for movement or kinesthetic learning. When kids have too much pent up energy, it can feel impossible for them to refrain from making noises. Try to build opportunities for movement into your lessons or centers, so that kids can get their wiggles out before it comes time for them to sit still and work quietly.

I hope the NOISE strategy is as much of a game changer in your classroom as it is in mine. I’d love to hear how it works for you. Enjoy!

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2 responses to “Noisy Class? Try This One Simple Strategy that Works”

  1. Fantastic!! Wish I was in the classroom again to have fun with this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We love this system! It is one of the best pieces of advice for classroom management that I’ve ever received.


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