During my second year placement, noise was an issue. Children were quite noisy when asked to work and as a consequence of this, their work was not completed to the best standard. This also distracted other children from their learning. Recognising this, I decided to research a variety of methods that may be used when aiming to monitor and improve the noise level in classrooms. I found an idea for ‘Quiet Critters’ whilst searching Pinterest and thought it was such a fabulous idea. So, I decided to give it a go! This is how it works… all children are each given a quiet critter, but if they are noisy then it is taken away. The children that are left with their critter at the end of the lesson are rewarded. This is a form of positive reinforcement as all children aimed to please and gain a reward!
The impact that this had on children’s engagement was HUGE. They loved the Quiet Critters and even asked for them to come out during big writes. As children were engaged in their learning, this meant that a better quality of work was being produced. For example, Child X had recently been diagnosed with ADHD and struggled to concerntrate and therefore distracted others. After implementing this, he wanted to sit on his own with his quiet critter and work hard. In his words he ‘didn’t want to be too loud and scare the quiet critter away’. So, this approach is suitable for children of all needs. However, it is important to note that as this was used with a year 2 class, it may not work with key stage 2. So, it is important to know your children prior to implementing certain approaches.
I loved this strategy so much that I have decided to keep them for my own future classroom! However, a target would be to research into other strategies to monitor noise and behaviour. Don’t be scared to try different things out and take risks!