It’s important to establish rules and routines at the beginning of the school year. This ensures students understand expectations. A key routine to your classroom management is a quiet signal to get your students’ attention. The aim is to get all students to stop what they are doing straight away, be quiet and focus on you, ready for learning or your next direction.
Using the rainstick quiet signal
There are numerous ways to implement a quiet signal; counting down from 5, call and response, whiteboard timers, chimes etc. I love to use a rainstick for my quiet signal. When I want the students’ attention, I turn my rainstick to get their attention. I love the sound of the rainstick, it is very calming and quite quiet, but a very different noise to the human voice. This means that even though it is fairly quiet, it can be heard throughout the classroom. You can keep turning the rainstick for however long it takes to get their attention. This means there is no time limit (hopefully this time should get shorter the more the students practise this). Best of all, you do not need to use your voice at all!
It is important that we try to think of ways to reduce the amount time we talk to give directions to students and to look after and not strain our voices. I particularly love the calming sound of the rainstick and if you have a clear one like mine, then students’ will love watching the little balls fall through it!
So, what do the students do when I use the quiet signal and they hear the rainstick? I have them put both hands on top of their head. I want to make sure that I have their full attention and nothing is in their hands, so this ensures that their hands and empty and they are focusing on myself.
Then I quietly call ‘hands down’ and students are sitting quietly, still, and ready to listen and learn! What quiet signal do you use to get your students’ attention?