The really tricky thing teaching performing arts is to get a whole lot of energy in the room and yet keep control of the classroom. I have a few techniques that work really well. don’t let anyone in the room until they are settled. Line up outside the door and encourage the kids who are doing the right thing. By the right thing I mean not screaming and jumping on each other. Keep reminding the class of your expectations.
With the little kids, I’say “don’t surprise me by making a perfect circle sitting down quietly on the floor.” That would really surprise me. If they do what I asked I will pretend to get a huge shock. If they don’t , I say “ You didn’t surprise me.
Often I will assign a chair on the periphery of the room and choose one kid to be the objective observer. That kid just watches the class for 5 minutes or so. At the end of the few minutes he/ she will give feed back on the level of listening in the class. The objective observer can even name names. “ Billy started talking to Jack white the teacher was talking. “
Its really important to remind everyone that it isn’t a witch hunt. Its just objective feedback. Don’t feel bad or guilty. Just take it on board and realise that that’s what happened in the eyes of an objective observer. it can be very powerful.
I tried a sshh counter. I would put a tick up on the board every time I had to say shhh and it became quite competitive as to which class got the least sshhhh. A scoring system similar to golf. It worked quite well actually but I think something that rewards good behaviour would be even better.