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Classroom Atmosphere Tips & Tricks for Teachers

Teacher ResourcesClassroom Atmosphere Teacher Tips & Tricks

The Teacher's Corner Resources Noise Level
Use a traffic light tool to manage classroom noise.

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

The Teacher's Corner Resources Playing Music In Class
iPod Speakers to play music in classFor as long as I can remember, music has been a part of my classroom. I've used it during work time, clean-up/transistion time and during indoor recess. The most important thing I've learned over the years is that I must have a variety of music genres available to play. There are times when you want to have some upbeat tracks, while other times you might need some that are calming. You might even find yourself wanting to use spoken tracks as well. (One of my favorites is s Shel Silverstein Poetry CD that I have.) Music is a great way to manage the noise level and atmosphere of your room while also introducing students to new genres. Please remember that you need to be cognicent of your students' needs. You might discover that some students have a difficult time working while music is playing. You will also want to make sure that you are playing age-appropriate music for your students. Some of today's popular songs contain inappropriate lyrics/messages for younger students. Prior to downloading songs for my classroom last year, I visited and browsed their recommended music list.

Depending on your classroom's situation, there are a variety of ways to provide your students with music:

  1. CD player, stand-alone or within a computer.
  2. iPod or MP3 player hooked up to speakers or classroom sound system. The photo shows how I used one of my older iPods and speakers.
  3. Streaming service (Be sure you find out if your school/district allows this. Some servcies are blocked due to the amount of bandwidth they use.)
  4. The Teacher's Corner Resources Taking Care of Ouchies
    An easy solution to your students always needing to leave class and go to the nurse or health assistant's office.

    "When I started my first year of teaching last year, I discovered it was popular for my fourth graders to go to the nurse's office for a band-aid or a spray of Bactine on a hang-nail or paper cut. To curb lost class time and personal frustration, I decided to keep a large bottle of clear aloe on the sink in the back of my classroom, along with a box of cotton swabs. After the students learned how to apply the aloe on their own without leaving or interrupting class, they were quite proud they could take care of the problem without asking for assistance. Their little ouchies also went away in the process!"
    Submitted by: Stephanie Urlage, a 4th grade teacher at White Hall Elementary School in Richmond, Kentucky. This tip was published in the NEA's Weekly "Works4Me" Email list.


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