Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Is, “Shhhhhh!” not working?  Well, here are a few tricks for you to try!

Student Heroes

5-4-3-2-1-zero                  (Hold up hand and put down one finger at a time.)
I’m looking for my               (Make circles with index fingers and thumbs and
student heroes.                  place around eyes like glasses.)
*Call the names of children who are sitting quietly.

         Special Signals

         Blow bubbles.  Challenge children to look at you and be quiet before all the bubbles pop.

         Open a music box.  When children hear the music they should freeze.

         Blink the lights, play a xylophone, or make some other unique noise or motion.

Simon Says

Begin a game of Simon Says:
         Simon says clap three times.
         Simon says put your hands in the air.
         Simon says touch your ears.
         Simon says blink your eyes, etc.
As children join in the game lower your voice as you say:
         Simon says put your hands in your lap and
         listen to me…line up at the door…get out your
         math books, etc.

Look at ____!

If you can find one child in your room exhibiting the behavior you are looking for then you can say, “If you don’t know what to do, look at child’s name.”

Magic Clap

Explain to the children that you have a magic signal that only your class will know about.  Every time you clap your hands, you want them to repeat the clap and look at you.   Practice clapping various patterns until all the children have joined in..

If You Can Hear My Voice

In a normal voice say:
If you can hear my voice, clap your hands one time.
In a softer voice say:
         If you can hear my voice, clap your hands two times.
In a whisper voice say:
         If you can hear my voice, please look at me.
Continue lowering your voice until children are focused on you.
Criss Cross
Criss cross,                           (Sit on floor and cross legs.)
Be your own boss.                  (Fold your arms and nod head.)

Sitting Chant
1, 2, 3, 4  -  glue your bottoms to the floor.


  1. I love all of your ideas!! Seriously, they are so magical! I use "hocus pocus, everybody focus!" on a daily basis. It works and my kiddos love it! I also love your "hips and lips". The kids just respond better when they are redirected into doing the right thing, rather than just being told to "shhh"! Also, I totally sang “If you don’t know what to do, look at child’s name.” to the tune of Happy and You Know It when I was reading this. Is that what you do?? Can't wait to try it! :)

    Miss Kindergarten

  2. I am holding a girls' night out at my house tomorrow for 12 mom friends of mine. we are going to make felt items as well as some different book crafts for our children, as we all homeschool our children. Wanted to let you know that much of the night will be thanks to you and your cool book from back in the day, The Book Shoppe! I had bought this neat spiral bound book when I attended a start wide teacher's conference in Ohio in the early 90s.
    Went on your website but did not see it on there, so wasn't sure if you now call it something else, etc...
    also, do you ever go out to do conferences or workshops for homeschool moms? If you do, would love to find out more, as I would love to coordinate having you come to our area. We are in Florida, about 45 minutes outside Tampa / an hour from Orlando. There are over 5,000 families here who homeschool. They would really benefit from hearing you and learning about your creative ideas. i have been singing your praises to my friends and know that we all would love for you to come to talk and share with us...
    i plan to take photos tomorrow during our girls' night so will have to share some with you, as much of it is from ideas that are inspired by you!
    Hope that you are having a happy week!


    My blog is Sunrise Learning Lab. I have not posted much lately as we were on vacation for two weeks.

  3. I like "1, 2, 3, eyes on me" and then the students have to respond "1, 2, eyes on you" and point at me. The response is really what sells it, and I sometimes randomly reward students who do it right and "freeze like a statue!"

    I've also heard of teachers using Hallmark music cards for transitions and telling the students that they have to be at the next place by the time the song ends!

  4. Another suggestion that my old P.E. teacher used to do (and we thought was super fun) was
    Teacher: "Everybody freeze!" and the teacher strikes a funny frozen pose
    Class: "Like ice!" and the students all do the same, with eyes on the teacher. The kids who didn't hear the teacher in the first place will notice their friends frozen and do the same.

  5. Fantastic ideas! Wish I had used some of these when I was teaching in public schools.
    I used a counter bell with new ring signals to keep it fresh. For drama, I held up a robot (just coloured discs on a frame)- red = freeze, yellow = quiet to desk/ sit on floor, green = go for it!

  6. I'm going to try some of this with my 5th graders... =)

  7. These are some great ideas! I am currently student teaching in a special education multi-categorical classroom and my students love to talk. These methods are more fun and interesting that might work better to maintain their attention. I am definitely going to try a few of these to minimize the talking in two of my classes. Thanks for the ideas! - Brittany

  8. One that really works for me is to teach the kids "Fish out of water!" When you say it, they are supposed to take a deep breath and hold it (not for any specified time). I like the way it creates instant quiet-so you have time to give them direction before they let out their breath.

  9. I do "Criss Cross Applesauce, Spoons in the pot" with my kiddos. It helps them remember to keep their hands to themselves. I also use a hand signal with it, that way when we're in assemblies or places where I can't talk to them, I can get their attention and give them the hand signal and they know exactly what to do. I love the bubble idea!

  10. One thing I do with my youth theatre group is announce "Silent Shark 1-2-3!" and all the kids need to put their hands up over their head like a shark fin. The last one to put their fin up (if noticably slow to respond) loses (but they're usually so quick to respond there isn't a loser!).

  11. I teach French and you gave me the idea of saying: un, deux, trois, regardez-moi! Thanks, I'll give that a try next week.

  12. WOW, these are some great ideas!! I also like zip zip, (the kids repeat zip zip) then I say zip your lips (with a zipping motion)

  13. Love the ideas! Especially the extension to "give me five" I'll be looking for my student heroes tomorrow!

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  15. Great ideas- thank you. One prompt I like to use is "eyes, ears and heart." We work on what is means to be a good listener and discuss what this prompt means. I have just started my own blog and look forward to contributing your ideas on their.
    Tameika Munday
    Mrs Munday's Memoir

  16. Super ideas! I use an "A OK" signal in the air for VBS and church funtions...once the kids see it we all repeat, "I love you, God loves you, and God's love makes the world go around" pointing to pinky finger and so on.

  17. I do this one!

    Hands on top (students put their hands on their heads)
    Class responds: That means stop!


    Teacher says: Holy Moly!
    Students say: Guacamole!

    Teacher says: All set?
    Students say: You bet!

    Quick and easy and I HATE hearing SHHHHHHHH all day long. I tell my kids they sound like leaking tires when they shhhhhh each other!

  18. Another one students LOVE is called "Class, Yes". The teacher says "class" and the students respond with "yes." The trick is that the students have to say "yes" the same way the teacher said "class." Example: Teacher says: "classity, class, class." Students respond: "yesity, yes, yes." This can be done in any pattern, tone or range. Great attention grabber that can also be short and sweet.

    1. I do the "Class, Yes" method with my 6th graders! Very effective! Sometimes I add a clap rhythm to the end and they love it! :)

  19. Instead of telling my kindergartners to line up, I tell them, "Nose and toes and lips are froze." It means to put their nose and toes behind the person in front of them and their lips are froze meaning they don't move and the students are ready and quiet to go in the hall.

    1. I use a similar reminder with my first graders: "Nose & toes, mouths closed." They learn that their noses and toes should be facing the front, and mouths closed is sort of self-explanatory. Haha

      First Grade with Ms. Dawley

  20. How do you teach whispering (during workstations, independent work)? I've tried using a familiar song and singing it in different voices (0 - silent, 1 - whisper, 2 - low voice, 3 - teacher voice, 4 - outside/recess, 5 - screaming/9-1-1). I'd love suggestions!