During independent work or small group work:Lights: I've used this for a long time. When lights are out, this is a signal that it should be quiet as a mouse in the room. When lights are dim, this is a signal that soft talking is allowed.
Music: Playing soft music in the background and reminding students their voices should not be louder than the music.
White Noise: I LOVE white noise. Not sure why it was just this past school year when I brought this into my classroom. I used it much like the music, reminding students not to get their voices above the white noise. HOWEVER, unlike the music, I noticed that often times NO talking occurred. The white noise actually helped many students focus more on their work. WOW! I even had students requesting the white noise. The favorite in the classroom was river rapids.
In the hall:One of my favorite ready for the hall poems is Marshmallow Toes. I think I originally found this on Christina Bainbridge's website a couple of years ago. Anyway, we say this poem as we leave our classroom. In the past, I have given students who do this exceptionally, a mini marshmallow. Get you own copy of the poem by clicking on the title above the picture.