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    whispering- yes!
    By Jean

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    First graders always think they are being quiet even when they aren't! I am the librarian and this came as a big surprise to me - when they were quite noisy, I asked the students to raise their hands if they thought they were talking quietly. They all raised their hands!!

    I tell the first graders that a whisper is so quiet, only the person next to you can hear you. We practice. If someone is too loud, I ask the person, How quiet is a whisper? I can hear you over here which means you aren't whispering.

    I realized I needed to clarify my terminology - I explained the difference between being quiet - which is whispering, and not talking. It again was a surprise to me that they thought not talking meant they could talk quietly.

    We now differentiate- if I tell them they are not to talk, that means silence. It is interesting how many times I had to go over the differences, but eventually they started recognizing how quiet the room should be.

    when the library becomes noisy, I turn off the lights and ask everyone to sit down. I have them close their eyes (and that immediately quiets them). I don't say anything for a few seconds and then I say - I want you to listen to how quiet sounds. After a few seconds, I say, this is how I want our room to sound. It takes a few times doing this but it is surprising how well it works. It helps if you use a very quiet voice with these directions, getting softer and softer.

    It also helps to have a "chatting time" for a few minutes after a very quiet time but they must settle the second I ring the bell. This helps them to realize the different expectations.

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