Song & Sound to Quiet Down

Continuing on the topic of children’s behavior, CMN member Brigid Finucane last year gathered some examples from our members of using music and sound to help quiet a noisy room.  Here’s what she found:

-When I see examples of good behavior, I sing, “Good manners are a very nice touch – cha, cha, cha”  from ‘Please Pass the Peas’ by Terri Mathis.  The kids love it.  –Tara Trudel

-A teacher I worked with used to softly sing “hey hey” (5-3 or sol – mi) and have the kids sing back “ho ho” – it was amazing how well it worked. –Martha Leader

Teacher says “Peanut Butter,” students say “Jelly.” –Liz Buchanan

-Other teacher-student duet ideas from teacher websites:

T:  Sponge Bob / S: Square pants!

T: Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? / S:  Sponge Bob Square Pants!

T:  Lis / S: ten.   T:  Everybody /  S: Listen.

T:  And a hush fell over the crowd.  /  S:  (in a whisper) hushhhhh.

T:  Hands up top /  S: That means stop (students put hand on head and freeze)

T:  Da, dada, da, da / S: Da da.  (Tune:  Shave and a hair cut – two bits!)


-I use tonal patterns to focus.  I then say, let’s take a breath in through the nose and out through the mouth.  Sometimes to switch it up I use rhythm patterns instead. I use the tones and rhythms of the previous song. – Pam Donkin

I use the opening lines of Sharon Hansen’s song, “Listen. Listen.”  –Leslie Zak

-I like Peter and Ellen Allard’s “Bodies 1-2-3” and “As Quiet Can Be” to quiet a bigger group and bring it into focus.  – Barb Tilsen

-Sometimes I do my instrument song, just to get their attention, as “Clap and clap and stop!”  to the tune of “Let Everyone Clap Hands Like Me.” –Joanie Calem

“Ah-goh”/ “ah-me,” from many places in Africa.  Teacher: “Ah-goh”  Kids: “Ah-me” (pronounced “may”).  Set-up: “When I say (or, when you hear) “Ah-goh” it means, “Are you ready to pay attention (listen)?  The kids answer, “Ah-me” which means, “I am.” We start when everyone says “ah-me.”  – Leslie Zak

-Katherine Dines adds:  I just looked this up online and found this additional idea, which I like a lot. This “Ah-goh” – “Ah-me” can go back and forth once or twice, but if the teacher has to ask for the students’ attention 3 times, that means the students are really not ready to refocus. Therefore, after the students’ 3rd response of “Ah-me,” everybody must clap 3 times, pat 3 times on shoulders with arms crossed, pop collar 3 times, and draw a circle with two palms moving outwards and reuniting in front of the heart while saying “Umoja” (unity in Swahili, a language of several countries in East Africa). This signifies everyone is now ready to pay attention again!

-Just start singing the next song, especially if it is new to the children. Without talking first. –Martha Leader

 We’ll soon feature some other behavior-related themes gathered by Brigid. – Editor