Friday, September 23, 2016

Using Whisper Voices or Not!

Have you ever asked children (in any grade level) the following questions?

1. What is a quiet Voice?
2. What is an inside voice?

Then all the marvelous little voices begin to "yell" all at the same time; what they think and know a quiet voice is! Yes, this happens to me every year and it doesn't matter how many times we "talk" and I "model" what an inside voice is and sounds like; outside voices are pretty much used 95.999999999% of the day!

Another overly used statement, especially the first few weeks of school is:

"Please raise your hand and wait to speak."
Followed by:
"But I need to say something." (while waving hand in the air as fast as they can)
Me: "Ok, what do you need to say?" 
Student: "we have kittens."

As you can see, the first few weeks can be tough for my students and me. There's usually anywhere from 19 to 23 students all trying to speak over each other, over the teacher, or anyone who walks into the classroom. Over the years I've thought and pondered on how to teach children the importance of speaking softly, using inside voices, and take turns speaking. I've modeled, we have had group discussions, chart our ideas, and constant reminders. Frankly, it's a struggle all year long, until now. This year I was determined to teach students about not just inside voices, but also about table voices, outside voices, six-inch voices, and whisper voices! Yes! I myself have learned about other types of voices not just my students. After learning about the different types of voices one can have, we chanted "SQUEEK-A-MA-DOODLE" all while using our different voices. The kids loved it and well, I'm pretty much a happy teacher who has taught my students all about our 6-inch voice!

I've learned that there's something about using stories that children can truly relate too; when we want to teach them certain concepts (like whispering.) This was evident during our readings; We sure learned a lot from Decibella, a little girl in school, who is learning when to speak loud, soft, and even whisper! Or Louis who's mouth is a volcano and always "Errupts." His tongue just happens to always push all his words out his mouth, through his teeth, and always gets in trouble! Even Lacey, who learns how to be a good listener, because she lost her voice and can't use it anymore. These books have taught both my student's and I important life lessons and are now part of my teacher collection and will be so for a long time!

  Books on how to teach children to speak softly                       Books on how to teach kids to use inside voices teaching kids about inside voices or whisper voices