“Keep it down, folks!” Classroom Procedure for Quiet Made Into a Game

Noise Buttons

“I don’t go to your house and stand between you and your Xbox and try to teach you Science, so please don’t come into my ‘house’ and disturb what I’m doing.”

Any teacher can tell you that there are those moments in education where you’re moving right along with your curriculum, you’re in the zone, ……..and you realize that you’re talking to yourself.  I have tried many classroom procedures to quell the extra chit chat.  Over the years, I have learned that bringing in a competition of sorts, especially with tweens and teens really 1. Gets their attention, 2. helps the class to bond and, 3. uses positive peer pressure to help kids conform.

Now, I can hear the groans. Oh no, HOW could you use peer pressure? What if EVERYONE doesn’t win the game? Does EVERYONE get a reward? What about their SELF-ESTEEM? As an adult, I can tell you that I have learned just as much from my failures and losses as I have from my successes.  My soapbox for 2 minutes: Kids need to understand that there’s a lesson to be learned in not always being successful/a winner/perfect. I think the world where everyone gets a pat on the back for showing up is really setting our kids up for unreal expectations.  Let’s stop setting these kids up for disappointment.  There’s nothing wrong with not coming out on top from time to time. It’s part of being human, and, yes, people will have certain expectations of you as an adult. You can be yourself, but learn when it’s okay/not okay to buck the system. Alright, I’m done now.

Anywho, I had these bottle caps I found in an old tin from a garage sale and I kept them with the thought that one day they’d come in handy.  I saw a similar project on Pinterest where large letters spelling ‘noise’ were used to keep the class aware of the noise level. I decided to turn it into a game, given my audience. Let’s talk about what I did first, and then I’ll tell you how the game is played.

I painted the bottle caps in sets of 5. I have 7 different classes for I ended up with 7 different colored sets. (I know there are 6 sets in this picture. I remembered to take a picture only after I had already started my next step. Oops.)


Then, I used my Mod Podge and some letters I found in some old scrap book stuff to create the word ‘noise’ on each set. If you aren’t familiar with Mod Podge, you’re missing out! It’s like a glue, but less sticky, easy to work with, and dries to a nice glaze. You can get it from all local hobby stores. I placed some under the letter, and then placed two coats on top of the letter, allowing time to dry between coats.Mod Podge

Bottom Coat

Top Coat

After they dried, I placed magnets on the back with hot glue so that they would cling to my classroom white board. Here’s my finished set.


To make this into a game, I created game cards, one for each class.  They were color coded to match the bottle  caps, and were 7″ x 7″.  I spaced out the blanks by 1/2″. I plan to laminate them so that dry erase markers can be used on them.

Game Cards

Here’s my finished set of cards and bottle caps, aka game pieces.

Game Set

To play the game: Each Monday, all classes start with a full set of game pieces on the whiteboard. If they get unruly, don’t pay attention, etc., a letter comes off.  This continues for the week. On Friday, the number of game pieces they still have on the board determines the number of moves they get to make on the classroom/team game cards.  These cards are posted on my bulletin board.  The goal is to fill in two complete lines on the card. Any direction, up, down, in an ‘X’.  To do this, they have a choice: Use, Block, or Split.

If they decide to ‘Use’, they will use their moves to fill in spots on their classroom/team game card. For example, on Friday, a class has three letters left and they chose to ‘Use’ these three moves. They would place three dots on their card, working toward filling in their two lines.

If they chose to ‘Block’, they can use their moves to place an ‘X’ on another class card to cover over a move that class has made. To redeem this move, the class who received the ‘X’ must use a move to get that space back.

If they chose to ‘Split’, they can use their moves to make a mark on their card and block on their opponent’s cards.  Example, they had a great week and earned all 5 moves. They place 3 dots on their own card and block two opponents.

Each week, the class elects a different Game Leader. This Game Leader listens to his classmates and make the decisions that the class, or most of it, agree upon in relation to Use, Block or Split.

When a class fills in two lines, they get to draw a class reward. For example, a fun lab in class that other classes don’t get to do. Half a class day outside, etc. The cards are erased and the game starts again.

Now, if the class goes through all game pieces in a week, you need to slow down and evaluate what’s going on in that class because something is wrong with the precious little angels!  I have one like this every year and sometimes you have to create different procedures for them because they are just a handful (we’ve all been there).

Hope you enjoyed this post and let me know if you have any suggestions, if you try it, etc.