As you get to know your students a little more throughout the year and as they get to know each other, they become more and more comfortable in your classroom. It is an amazing thing! But, it also might mean they become a little chatty.
Now, I love working in small groups and the buzz of students talking in the classroom. That's the kind of chatter you LOVE to hear. Collaborative dialogue is a teacher's dream! But there are times when you may feel like student conversations are overwhelming and it can feel exhaustingly repetitive to try to get your class back on track.
It may seem like a daunting task to get a talkative class under control, but try to look at WHEN your class is chatty. Are they talking during transitions, small group, whole group? Hopefully not all of the above! But, when you try to get a better idea of when your class has talkative tendencies, you can think of a method to combat those tendencies.
Here are a few tips to get your talkative class back on track:
- Try to reward the positive rather than attract attention to the negative. Even a simple positive praise can go a long way! You are no longer pointing out the talkative behavior but pointing out the positive. You can also use your class management system to reward that positive behavior too.
- Many times we may be tempted to take away a privilege or recess, but over the years I have found that never produces the results that I expect, and it leaves us all frustrated. Sometimes the students that are talkative or distracted are the ones that need the free time the most!
- If you do have students that you find are always initiating the talking at inappropriate times, try to acknowledge the times that they are on task. Send a real quick note home pointing out how well that student did during small groups or transitions. The pride in taking home a positive note from the teacher can't be beat!
- Try doing brain breaks when you can tell that your students are getting restless. Brain breaks are a great way to break up instruction to get kids up and moving. And have you tried Go Noodle? It's just as fun as it is beneficial!
Get up and moving:
Another thing that I do to get my kids up and moving while also giving them a chance to talk is what I call “Hot Seat Questions.” In the morning or when they are at specials, I tape questions under chairs around the room. This works in groups, desks, tables, and even with flexible seating.
I do all kinds of questions about current events, growth mindset, math, about our read aloud….anything that will get them thinking and talking to each other.
When I notice they are a little distracted and talkative, I yell out, “Hot Seat!” They immediately jump up and check under their seat to see if they have the hot seat question. Whoever is sitting in the hot seat shares the question with their group or friends that are seated around them to discuss. They have to come up with a response to share with the class. They read their question and share their response.
It takes just a few minutes but is a quick way to get them re-focused with a meaningful question, rather than simply redirecting their talkativeness. They come back ready to focus because they've quietly listened to other groups share.
Calm and Smooth Transitions
Transition time always seems to be a talkative time. And students may need that quick chat during a transition, and that's okay. It's getting them back after a transition.
Using a wireless doorbell is a game changer for transitions. It is so easy to get your students' attention with the touch of a button! When you are ready to transition, you can ring the bell. Students will know it is time to listen up, pack up their things, move to the next station….whatever directions you have given.
And if your class is having a talkative moment, simply ring the bell! They will get used to “stop and listen” at the sound of the bell. And if they start to tune it out, just change the chime! That is sure to get their attention.
Share a favorite book:
Reading aloud is a great way for students to make connections and see how disruptive talking can affect others around them. I always find that reading a book can help us connect and reconsider our own behaviors when looking in on the actions of characters in the book. Here are a few of my favorite books to discuss appropriate talk in the classroom.
- Lacey Walker Non Stop Talker by Christianne C. Jones
- My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook
- Interrupting Chicken by David Exra Stein
- Decibella and her 6 Inch Voice by Julia Cook
After reading a book, make an anchor chart and discuss appropriate times for talking and appropriate times for listening. Your anchor chart can remain up as a great reminder for students throughout the year and you will be able to reference it when needed. Click below to grab these free anchor chart pieces.
You can grab a FREE set of editable templates for you to make your own hot seat questions. Subscribe here!
You can also check out my classroom economy pack. I love using a class economy, it has always worked for my classroom management and the kids love nothing more than receiving class cash as a positive reward. You can read a post all about how I get my classroom economy started HERE!
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