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It's Too Loud In Here: Voice Level Management

One of the very first lessons I teach each year has to do with voice levels.  This classroom management piece is so crucial to the entire year.  I am one of those teachers who prefers a quieter room.  I just can't handle 30 voices going at once.  I know it's distracting for many children too.  If you think you can relate, keep reading.  I hope I can help!

Teaching voice levels really takes 15 minutes - which is why it's so amazing it works all year!  There are many different poster sets out there you can use for reference during this lesson.  I've created three: chalkboard, tropical watercolor and brights themed.  The posters make a great year-long visual.


I place all posters from 0-4 on my whiteboard in order from lowest to highest ahead of time.  I've also got a summary piece with all the levels on one page. The levels that I use are:
0 - Silent
1 - Whisper
2 - Partner
3 - Groups
4 - Presentation

I go over each card one by one.   The first card is the easiest for kids to understand, 0 - silent.  No sound.  Things get a little bit louder from there: whisper, partners, groups.  When you get to 4, it's a bit trickier.  One voice is nice and loud (the loudest in fact) but all the rest are silent and listening.

Once I've talked about each, we practice.  I start at 0, everyone is quiet.  Then I move to 1, and the room is filled with whispers.  We work our way up and then back down to 0.  I like to them randomize the numbers.  The kids find it fun and it shows me they really understand each level.

Even as soon as the very next day, I was able to say "I would like a volume level 1 for this activity" and my class was able to get off to work with a whisper voice! 

Do you use voice levels in your room?
How do you manage volume? 

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