Traffic Lights - This is something I use to keep the noise level of my classroom at an acceptable level.
To introduce the concept, I have a discussion with the students about what the different traffic lights mean (red = stop, yellow = slow down, green = go.) Then I tell them that we'll be using traffic lights in the classroom, not for moving traffic, but for speaking traffic.
Then I ask them "What would it mean if I said 'Red Light'?" The answer would be "No talking." I ask similar questions for yellow and green lights, the answers being that yellow means they can ask questions if they raise their hands, and green means they can talk freely.
After this discussion, when you about to start something, tell the students what kind of light they're at. Ex. If I was going to read a book to them, I'd say "Red Light." Once the story was finished, I'd say "Yellow light" and start a discussion with the class.
As well as verbally telling them which light they're at, I also made a spinner which I posted at the front of the room. I set it to the proper color as a visual reminder to the class.
Submitted by: Patricia Pruim - Iskut, BC, Canada