Sound Levels in the Classroom

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Every administrator, teacher, parent, and student has different levels of tolerance when it comes to sound levels.  Some classrooms I work in can be eerily silent, or too loud for me to think, let alone the students.  The fact is, noise can have an affect on student productivity and learning.  To get more of the science behind this, there is a great article discussing a research study done inside classroom at blog.sparkypro.com.

There are some ways that we can help control this level for the entire class and for individual students.

For the entire class, it can be useful to explicitly teach the students what the expected sound level should be for different activities.

The full version with description is available here:

Classroom Noise Meter

This visual is used to set expectations before and activity and silently prompt a reminder to the students.  In my room I have this printed and on the white board with an arrow to the present noise level.

For individual students, this could be made smaller and placed on their desk.

This is just one of many ways to set expectations or make accommodations for noise levels within the classroom.

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Parent Communication Forms

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One thing I always try to improve on in teaching is my communication with parents.  I love when parents are involved in their children’s education, and I want to make sure that I can keep them informed without spending too much of my work time on writing notes home.

For some of our families, when their child comes home from school they can ask them about their day.  They can talk about the fun new science project they did where they made their own cloud in a jar.  Or tell their parents that during their spelling activity they were bored and needed to move on.  Parents can get a basic idea of a classroom from the way their students perceive it.  But not all of our students are verbal.  When I was teaching in a young Autism specific classroom, 75% of my students communicated with picture communication systems and alternative argumentative communication devices.  This form of communication was still in it’s most basic stages and was mostly being used for requesting.  Parents were unable to ask their students about their day.  They had no idea what was happening in the classroom during the week unless they were able to communicate with me.  We needed to set up a simple system that allowed us to get the basics of the week that included academics, behavior, and communication.

Parent Communication Collaboration

To save time we created a simple checklist of items that parents wanted to know about, and items that I wanted them to know about.  This was all about collaboration.  Just like creating the IEP for the students, parents and teachers need to continue to work together throughout the year.  Sometimes I would be surprised to find out a parent wanted to know the times of the day their student used the toilet.  I tend to take a ton of data in my classroom, so these requests were not difficult.  Here is an example of a basic checklist.  If parents had access to the internet I just emailed these to them which is great because it keeps a record of communication.  If the parents needed the hard copy, I would make a copy for my records and one to be sent home.  It not only keeps track for the parents, but also for the teacher.  Always keep records of your communication.

Parent Daily Communication Form