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37 Secrets to a Quiet Classroom

May 11, 2022 by Korryna Sanchez

I don’t know about you, but I am at a point in the year where I crave peace and quiet so much that I have found myself driving home without the radio on. The comfort of the silence has been a relief, so for those of you that are feeling the way I am feeling right now, I came up with a list of 37 Secrets to a Quiet Classroom. 

Trust me, there is no shame in wanting to give your students an assignment and be able to sit down at your desk and actually get those 1:1 assessments done, take a moment for yourself with a hot cup of coffee, or work on packing up your classroom for the end of the year. 

For some really great (and sometimes a little bit silly) ideas, we asked our Fearless Kindergarten, Fearless First Grade, and Fearless Second Grade Facebook Groups for some of their Secrets to a Quiet Classroom. 

Secrets to a Quiet Classroom: 1- 

“I broke out my quiet critters today, and they were quiet for a blissful 30 minutes!” -Stephanie B. 

2- “Come in on the weekend!!” -Beth I. 

3- “Bribing with candy!!!!” -Marcia G. 

4- Use Education to the Core’s Premium Membership in order to have unlimited access to printables that are both engaging for your students and no-prep for you. 

5- “Never heard of such a thing! Jk. We watched a movie today for the 1st time all year so I could get some 1:1 assessments done. It was very chill.” -Jani B. 

Secrets to a Quiet Classroom: 6-

“Crying visibly without saying a word.” -Chloe H. 

7- I Spy: Phonics is such an engaging activity, your students will be begging you to do them every day. And with the number of pages you have at your fingertips when with either your ETTC Premium Membership or if you snag it from Teachers Pay Teachers,  you can definitely include them weekly in your plans for the entire year and for years to come! 

8- “Behavior buddies and blurt beans have helped my class this year!” -Danielle E. 

9- “I was going to say duct tape. I do a lot of balancing movement activities, mindfulness activities, and work. I let them talk during times it isn’t disruptive so that when I really need them to be quiet and listen, I have some cooperation built up from them.” -Suzanne K. 

10- “I explain to my students that I cannot decipher more than one voice at a time, it gets all jumbled. Also, we discuss how we concentrate best. Inevitably, someone says they like it quiet. Then we honor our friends that need quiet during work time. I also award team points for quiet workers to reinforce the expected behavior.” -Trisha M. 

Secrets to a Quiet Classroom: 11-

“Turn off the lights” – Becky J. 

12- Transformation Stations are always a game-changer. Students love the idea that they get to create something unique and then get to write about it. This activity literally works every time! 

13- “The classroom kerplunk challenge is kind of working. Day 1 was a success. Day 2 was a struggle. I’m just convinced that quiet is unheard of in the spring.” -Morgan B. 

14- “Noise-canceling headphones” -Devan G. 

Secrets to a Quiet Classroom: 15-

“I don’t yell I stare” -Cara H. 

16- “I put a jelly bean or skittle on their desk and if they are talking excessively or blurting out I walk by and take it. Whoever at the end of the lesson still has it can eat it. If it’s a longer lesson or a lesson and independent work I do two. Also, I will watch for kids during transitions doing the right thing and give them a piece of candy or a skittle, etc.” -Kaley C. 

17- “I put relaxing music on… and tell them they need to quieter than my music.” -Ruzanna B. 

18- Directed Drawings are a go-to for me. I love that it not only challenges them, but it also forces us to practice patience, following directions, and motor skills. It really is an all-encompassing activity, and the real beauty of it is, that once you show your students how to do it, you can simply just pass out the worksheet and they will already know what to do. 

19- “Lock the door- don’t let them in??? Actually, in my case, don’t let me in!” -Aimee W. 

20- “By wearing earplugs” -Lynda Z. 

Secrets to a Quiet Classroom: 21- 

“There is no answer this year. 24 school days left and I don’t think I’ll feel the bliss of quiet this year.” -Michelle A. 

22- “There’s an app called Too Noisy. There’s a free version and paid one, I think it’s like 1.99, which is so worth it. I use it during small groups.” -Jennifer G. 

23- “Lofi beats. When it’s time for quiet work I play lofi beats or orchestral music on low volume. The students know they need to be able to hear the music” -Charlotte R. 

24- “Admit defeat.” -Deanna M. 

25- “I’ve learned to tolerate the noise most of the day. If they are working and learning – I go with the flow. The few minutes a day when it’s my turn to talk (teach) they do need to be quiet. I also expect the noise level to stay low enough so I can work with small groups but I’ve given up on quiet.” -Anita P. 

Secrets to a Quiet Classroom: 26- 

 “The right kind of noise is ok!! If they are engaged in learning it’s totally positive that they are talking. I found that my whispering is helpful because rather than match my loud voice they settle and get calm. I use a hand signal they mimic and they know to get quiet for directions. They also have a keyword I say that they repeat (it changes and we keep it fresh). For example, in winter I say “winter snow, winter snow” and they say “shhh” and use their hands to mimic snow falling. Different classes have responded to different things over the years! It’s always a guessing game!” – Amber M. 

27- Emergency Sub Plans. I know it sounds a little crazy, but hear me out. This year has been wild, and sometimes you just don’t have the energy or the creativity to create an engaging lesson that will keep your students quiet and still learning. But with the end of the year drawing nearer, why not use your Sub Plans? They are an extension of what you would normally have planned and you already know what works with your students and what does not, so pull out the Sub Plans and use the work you have already planned! 

28- “Hand signals, arranging them into “teams”, and LOTS of time to turn and talk throughout the day.” -Bethany J. 

29- “My secret to a quiet classroom? Why would you want a quiet classroom? Kids are literally MADE to talk and socialize. I give them lots of opportunities to be in groups and partnerships. They listen to quiet classical music while they write. I think it’s unrealistic to want a quiet classroom. If I need them to quiet down so I can have their attention for a moment I ring a doorbell on my wall.” -Katie M. 

Secrets to a Quiet Classroom: 30- 

“Get a chime. Use Responsive classroom strategies.” -Sheri G. 

31- “Stop and stare and reward for the appropriate behavior.” -Stacy C. 

32- “Kids are earning to have recess on the “big kid’s” playground” -Sara C. 

33- “Brain breaks, brain breaks, brain breaks!” -Page M. 

34- “I play “thinking music” while my students work. It plays quietly and the rule is if you can’t hear the music you’re too loud. I don’t play it with the intention of they have to be quiet. It helps them focus and stay on task.” -Savanna B.

35- I already talked about I Spy: Phonics but I didn’t mention the beauty of I Spy: Math. If your class is anything like mine this school year, phonics is not the thing we need to focus on right now, so when ETTC dropped the I Spy: Math worksheets I knew I needed them. I have used a few but the one that really worked to create a quiet classroom was the I Spy 2D Shapes worksheet.  

Secrets to a Quiet Classroom: 36- 

“I am not at all an expert on this topic but today the strategy I used worked. First, we discussed that I’d be giving an assessment and that we needed to be quiet so our friends could think. I had them tell me the why. Then I modeled a voice level 1. I talked at different levels and asked if each was a level 1. Each time it got loud, we stopped, I modeled, and we talked about it.” -Nicole A. 

37- “I make a big deal out of them being “second-graders in training”. That usually gets them for a few days. Then I add in the “Student vs. Teacher” game. If they are doing what they’re supposed to do they get a point, if not I do, but if they win at the end of the day, they earn a prize. If I win, they walk a few laps the next day at recess. It isn’t full proof, but it works pretty well!!” -Catherine D. 

At this point in the year, a quiet classroom is hard to come by, but I know I am going to use some of these tricks, while also takings the advice of some of the teachers and simply embrace the fact that it is the end of the school year and if I am tired, my kiddos are too. 

But If you want more hilarious content, great advice, and off-the-wall stories from other teachers, join our Facebook Groups: Kindergarten Fearless Group, First Grade Fearless Group, or Second Grade Fearless Group

Or, you can also sign up for our free Teaching Tiny Humans Teacher Course, where you will get weekly emails and guidance on how to navigate challenging situations, along with tips, tricks, activity ideas, and freebies to make this school year a success and constantly be honing your skills even if you are not in the classroom.

In addition, you can follow us on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook @educationtothecore for continued information and resources as the school year progresses, or listen to our podcast Where the Primary Things Are.

Written by – Korryna Sanchez 

At Education to the Core, we exist to help our teachers build a stronger classroom as they connect with our community to find trusted, state-of-the-art resources designed by teachers for teachers. We aspire to be the world’s leading & most trusted community for educational resources for teachers. We improve the lives of every teacher and learner with the most comprehensive, reliable, and inclusive educational resources.

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