If there’s one thing that can be difficult for new teachers, it’s classroom management. You can have the most well-thought out procedures, have your bell schedule prominently displayed, and be ready to not smile until Christmas but the class can still run amok.
Last year, my classes pushed me to my breaking point. There were sometimes more than 30 kids in the classes (including several with IEPs or BIPs or 504s or ESOL accommodations) and it was often hard to get the entire class to be quiet. I’ve always struggled with determining who the culprit really is when there are multiple students talking and last year was no exception. I needed a new way to get the whole class to be silent without standing there going “I’m waiting…” or “1…2…3…4…” until some child would yell “she’s counting!” What I was doing wasn’t working.
So this year, I decided to try something different.
On Amazon Prime Day (a day that is not good news for my wallet), I came across a posting in a Teacher Deals page – which I highly recommend checking out, hence why it is linked – for a wireless doorbell. I had seen something about using a wireless doorbell on Instagram so I took the plunge and ordered one myself. The teachers who had used it in their classrooms before raved about how they would just press the button, sound the tone, and wait for the students to be quiet. Would it work? I wasn’t sure but, after last year, I was ready to try anything.
The doorbell came and I set it up in the classroom. This particular model has about 42 different melodies so I picked one that lasts about 6 seconds. Thanks to Instagram, I had discovered that the actual button would fit in a hand sanitizer holder that I could then attach onto my lanyard! Genius! On the first day of school, when the noise level got a little too loud, I pressed the button and the chime rang out. By the end of the six second melody, the room was silent.
I explained that this was my “Sound Management Voice Level Control Software (Patent Pending)” and that, when they heard the melody, they had until the music stopped to get silent. After the music ended, anyone still talking would be issued a consequence.
And. It. Works.
All I have to do is press a button, wait for the chime to end, and go on about our lives. No longer do I stand at the front of the room, arms crossed, counting. I don’t spend a minute or two saying “I’m waiting” and actually waiting for the students to be quiet. My doorbell works magic.
Now, do students still get consequences when they are individually talking when they’re not supposed to? Sure. But my classroom management of the whole class has gotten much, much better.
And all it took was a ten dollar wireless doorbell (link will take you to the Amazon listing for the doorbell I bought, although I’m sure there are many options).
Be sure to check out the Instagram this week (@tales_of_a_sixth_grade_teacher) for some videos of the Voice Management Control System in action! As always, I’d love to hear from you about your classroom management tricks! I’m always up for adding to the toolbox.