June 28, 2022

Classroom Management Tricks: Timers and a tool to control noise | Cool Tools


As every teacher knows, good classroom management can make the difference between a great class experience and a poor one. While technology doesn’t replace the need for a solid approach to classroom management, tech tools, including these, can certainly help.

SLJ1410w-TK_CT_ClasstoolsWhenever I have long blocks of instructional time, I like to offer students some oxygen in the form of short breaks and/or timed, hands-on activities. Countdown timers can help keep these breaks from stretching on for too long. The Classtools Countdown Timer (classtools.net/timer) sports two slick features. For one, you can create, set, and view multiple timers on one screen. This means that if you have students sharing presentations in rapid succession, you don’t have to reset the timer for each student, but simply move on to the next timer. The timers can also be set to music—standard options include Mission Impossible, The Apprentice, and Countdown themes—and more music can be accessed with a built-in YouTube search tool.


If you don’t need or want all those features, try the countdown function built into Google. Simply go to Google.com and type “set timer” into the search box, followed by an amount of time. A timer will appear, and an alarm beeps when the time is up. Clicking a box icon to the right of the timer will expand the timer to appear full screen, without ads.


When my students are working on group projects, some volume is good, but too much noise isn’t. Too Noisy (free version: http://ow.ly/BirIr; pro version: http://ow.ly/BnzHO) is an iPad app designed to help students learn to recognize appropriate volume for conversations. The app measures the volume in a room and displays a meter indicating whether or not it is too loud. Too Noisy has four situation settings: silent, quiet, group, and class, and you can adjust the sensitivity of the meter for each situation. The pro version ($2.99) offers additional background themes for the meter display, star awards if the class maintains an appropriate volume, and alarms that alert students when they’re being too loud. The pro version also removes pop-up ads that otherwise appear when you change screens. Whichever version you choose, projecting the Too Noisy meter so that all your students can see it is a good way for them to gauge the appropriate volume.


We’ve all experienced that moment when we ask for volunteers to present or answer a question, and alas, not a hand goes up. Then there’s the opposite—when all hands are raised to participate in some exciting opportunity. In both situations, a randomizer comes in handy. Random Name Selector from Primary Technology (primaryschoolict.com/random-name-selector) is a simple tool for picking names from a list you’ve created. To use it, type in or copy a list of names and hit “go.” Once a name is selected, you can launch a two- or seven-minute countdown timer. You may also remove a name from the list after it has been chosen.

Give these tools a try. They won’t do the hard work of classroom management for you, but they can make it easier—and more fun.



Richard Byrne (richardbyrne@freetech4teachers.com) writes the award-winning blog “Free Technology for Teachers.”

Richard Byrne About Richard Byrne

Richard Byrne (richardbyrne@freetech4teachers.com) writes the award-winning blog “Free Technology for Teachers.”