Classroom Management Series: Part 3 {Tattling}

Tattling is one my biggest pet peeves in the classroom, but the good news is there are some great ideas to help you deal with this problem.

One of the most important things to remember is that students do not tattle because they want to get on your nerves or make you angry. They do it because they are trying to communicate something with you and they don't know how else to do it. Our job is to teach them the RIGHT way to communicate what it is they need say and sometimes that is learning that not everything
needs to be communicated.

As with the first two parts in this series, most of these ideas are things I have discovered in my years of teaching, on Teachers Pay Teachers, or Pinterest. I will share links to blogs, sites, and TPT shops where necessary.

Tootling is actually the opposite of tattling. The point is to hopefully encourage students to write positive things about their classmates instead of coming to you with negative things. The goal is to reduce kids coming to you to tell on students and encourage them to look for the positive things. All you need is a board like the one pictured below and students write positive notes on their own time to the sticky notes.

One of the best ways we can reduce tattling is to explicitly teach students the difference between tattling and reporting. Provide them with a visible chart and discuss. Have students come up with more examples. Have students sort examples until they really understand what tattling is and is NOT. Here is a great poster from my sweet friend Lindsay Flood! You can download this free poster by clicking the image below.

The tattle box is simple...have a box placed somewhere in your classroom where students can write their tattles. This way, you don't have to have kids interrupt your instruction time. Of course, you need to make sure you have discussed tattling v. reporting. If you see that a certain student's name keeps appearing in the box, you can pull them aside and have a little conversation. This also goes for the student who is abusing the tattle box. Use your teacher discretion. I have also seen this called the Tattle Monster. You can decorate your box and call it whatever your little teacher heart desires. 

Similar to the tattle box, sometimes students just need an outlet to communicate. Placing a Tattle journal or notebook somewhere in your room and letting students go to write down their issues during their own time can be a great way to help students channel their urge to tattle.

There are some great read alouds out there to help you get started when teaching your students about tattling. Tattle Tongue is one of my favorites! Stories by Storie has an awesome book companion that you can purchase to go with this book. 

She also has a great sorting freebie pictured below that you can download on her blog. Head over by clicking below.

Another book for teaching about tattling is called Don't Squeal Unless It's a Big Deal. You can view it on YouTube by clicking below. 

I saw this idea from Teach Love and Iced Coffee on Instagram last week and I thought it was just the cutest! It is sort of a spin on the Tattle box. Display this cute little bulletin board. Students write their "drama" on little cards and give it to the llama! I mean, WHAT?! How cute is that? Who doesn't love llamas?! You can snag this adorable bulletin board set by clicking the image below!

I hope you were able to learn some new tips for Tackling those Tattlers! Join me later this week for learning some new tricks for teaching kids how to listen and follow directions. What are your favorite strategies for Tackling Tattlers?

Classroom Management Series: Part 2 {Blurting}

Welcome to the second part of my classroom management series on dealing with blurters. These kids are just a special kind of friend and they call for a little bit of an intervention. Your typical talking strategies may not quite work on your blurters, so I have compiled a comprehensive list of strategies (some I've used, most I have not) for you to consider as you deal with these special friends.

I will be linking to several other teachers posts and TPT stores in this post because these strategies are not my own ideas. The purpose for this series for me was to put all the strategies together in one place to make it easier for teachers to find tools and tricks that they need to help them when they are struggling in a particular area.

I read about this strategy last year as I tried to deal with the fact that I had several sweet little friends who struggled with blurting out. All you need is a couple of containers and some beans. At the start of each lesson, I had my helper give each student a bean. If a student blurted out, their bean went back into the community container. All students who still had their bean at the end of the lesson or lecture, put theirs in the reward jar. It was as simple as that! You can pass out beans as little or as often as you like. I let students help me determine what rewards we were working towards. Just remember, the larger the reward container, the longer it will take to get there....This can lose its effect quickly if you don't pass out the beans often or if you make your container too large. I found this out the hard way last year.

When blurt beans weren't quite working for one of my little friends, I had to try something a little more drastic. I read about Blurt Cubes on Miss Giraffes post about taming a chatty class. You can read her post HERE. This REALLY seemed to work for my guy for a while. Every time he blurted out, he had to turn one of his letters over. If he still had letters left by the end of the time we had determined, I let him go into my treat box.

For him, I felt that it was important that he didn't feel defeated if he lost all of his letters before the day was over so we decided that he got to reset and get a second chance at lunch time if didn't meet the goal. I think this really helped him think and reflect that "Hey, I need to do better this afternoon." I didn't want him to give up on the rest of the day because he had already lost his letters. This worked really well for him for a couple of months. As with everything else, things tend to lose their magic and you have to try something else. I do recommend this strategy for your high flyer blurters. Letting him determine what the reward was each time was also really helpful. He liked picking reward passes like lunch with a friend or having me buy him a snack a lunch.

For the Blurt Box or Bucket, students fill out a ticket or paper with their name and date each time they blurt out and interrupt the class. You want to make sure you have clearly defined what all qualifies as blurting out {making noises, talking to a friend while the teacher is talking, shouting out an answer without raising their hand, etc...). This way, your students are well aware of reasons they may receive a ticket for the blurt box. Students will drop their tickets in the blurt box. At the end of the week, tally the tickets and help students make a goal to improve their blurting. You can reward students who didn't blurt out at all. Students who beat their goal each week can earn a certificate or a note home.

I would use our data notebooks to help keep track of our weekly blurts because our school is big on Data Notebooks. This would be an easy way to help students keep track of their weekly blurts and it would be great to pull out during parent conferences so that students can show their parents their improvement.

Here are a couple ideas for a Blurt Box or a Blurt Bucket. Click on each image for the original post or link to the product.

Teacher mail, or T-mail, is a way to help keep your students from constantly blurting out to tell you things that have nothing to do with what you are teaching. You know the kids I'm talkin' about, right? These are special kinds of blurters! With T-mail, students fill out a little piece of paper and put it in your mail box. Instead of blurting, they are able to share with you appropriately and then you can respond to the student at a later time. If you don't have a mailbox, you can use a shoe box or some other container for collecting your T-mail. You can download this freebie from Upper Elementary Adventures by clicking the image below! 

I have not used Talkin' Tokens, but this strategy is great for all students. Each students gets a few tokens. If you don't have the printable ones pictured below, you can use something like counters. Each time they contribute to the conversation or answer a question they give you a token. If they blurt, they lose a token. This is a great way to help students be conscious of their talking out and remember to raise their hands because they are tangible. You can read more about The Pinspired Teacher's post HERE.

I kind of love this idea because it is similar to the Quiet Manager that I mentioned in Part 1 of the series. A student is chosen to be the Blurt Patrol. The best part is you want to choose one of your special blurters for the job! You place the blurt patrol charts on a clipboard. You will want to discuss the voice level chart and the expectations at each level with your class when you introduce it. Before the lesson, set a goal for how many blurts you will make and try to stay under that goal. The blurt patrol then sits where they can see the whole class and the teacher. If the student sees someone blurt out for not raising their hand, having their eye on the speaker, or not having a level 0 voice, the blurt patrol gives them a silent warning by pointing to the part of the chart they need to fix on the back of the clipboard. If that student needs to be reminded again, the blurt patrol puts an x on the chart.The goal is to stay in the green with blurts. You can purchase this for only $1.50 by clicking the image below! I am definitely going to be trying this one out this school year!

Another simple idea you do for your blurters is to give them a punch card. This is one of those strategies like the Blurt Cubes that may lose its magic touch after a time. I personally think it is important to let students determine what reward they want or else they won't want to work towards changing their behavior. Every time the students get through a predetermined amount of time without blurting, they earn a punch on their blurt card. 

You can download these reward punch cards free by clicking the image below.

The Pinspired Teacher also includes some Blurt Punch Cards in her Blurt Pack on TPT. You can head to her store by clicking the image below.

The Blurt Board is similar to the Chit Chat Chart I described in Part 1. I really like this blurt board below. Student's names would be listed along the side. Then they have several velcro circles next to their names. Each time they blurt, they would remove a circle. Yellow is a warning. The first red circle and after, you would determine how to handle those in your classroom. We aren't allowed to take recess so we enforce silent lunch instead. Losing all 6 would most definitely result in a phone call home if it were me, but certainly you could determine how the chart would work in your class. I would definitely reward students who had all of their circles at the end of the week. I could not find the source for this photo for credit so if you know where this originated, please share.

In this one from Angela Watson, students get three pieces of bubble gum on the board a week. Each time they blurt, one piece goes back into the class gum bowl. For every piece they have left at the end of the week, they keep. If they have none, you determine a consequence. 

I certainly hope you were able to learn some new tips for dealing with those pesky blurters! I would love for you to share your favorite way to handle them in your classroom in the comment section!

Don't forget to join me for the next part in the series, Tattling! You can also read last week's post below. 

Classroom Management Series: Part 1 {Talking}

Welcome to my six part classroom management series! Today I am launching into Part 1: Taming a Talkative Class.

When I first began teaching over ten years ago, talking in the classroom was not as rampant as it is today. It seems like every year, the talking just seems to become more and more prevalent and kids seem to think that it's not that big of a deal.

Classrooms and teaching in general have changed so much in the last ten years. We now expect children to talk to their tables, talk to their partners and share their learning as opposed to the old school traditional forward facing students who must sit quietly and listen to the teacher lecture on and on. Additionally, flexible seating has become a huge part of many classrooms across the country. This type of seating lends itself to students being able to talk to each other. We have to learn to bend with the times and manage students in creative ways.

In today's series, I am going to share with you some of my favorite ways to tame those talkers! Most of these strategies are ideas I have found from others and have adapted for my own classroom. There are a couple I will be sharing that I have not yet tried, but plan on implementing this coming school year. As with any management tool, everything loses it's magic after a time. I recommend having them all in your "bag of tricks," and pull them out when one strategy has run its course. Or just change them up frequently to keep the students on their toes!

Secret Code, sometimes referred to as Secret Word or Code Word, is a strategy that I read about last school year. I was dealing with an extremely chatty class and I needed something to get those kids to stop talking and listen up! The kids LOVE this one and they beg for it! For secret code, you pick a secret word. Your secret code word can last for a short period of time or all day. You tell students the secret word. I only tell them ONE time to make sure they are really listening. Throughout the lesson, they must listen carefully and NOT talk so they can hear the secret code word. The first student to hear the secret code word raises their hand and you can give them a little treat. It can be a Dojo point, a piece of candy, a reward pass, whatever your heart desires! Your code word can be creative like unicorn, pokemon, or kalamazoo. I like to make mine a little more subtle to throw students off and really make sure they are tuned in and listening quietly. I like to pick words like whiteboard or listen. This can be tricky because sometimes I don't even realize that I've said the word and sometimes the students don't either! HAHA But this way you really have the students attention! When I did this last year, my students were on the edge of their seats listening! When one child would try to talk, they were quickly quieted by their classmates so they could hear the secret code word. I personally recommend using this strategy sparingly so it doesn't lose it's magic. Here is a cute idea the peppyzestyteacherista. You can read her post about the Code Word Strategy and how she uses it in her classroom HERE.

Another strategy that you can use is voice levels. I have seen many great ideas out there for voice levels, but this is a great tool for teaching students when it's appropriate to talk and when it is NOT. Modeling and teaching this at the beginning of the year is so important or this strategy really won't be that effective. Students need to practice at each voice level multiple times. Here are some great ideas I have seen for using Voice Levels in the classrooms. I really love the idea of using the light up buttons to indicate what voice level students should use.

The voice level numbers below are from Miss 5th! You can download this freebie them in her shop HERE

The chart from Miss Giraffe pictured below is another great idea for voice levels. She puts the levels on a flippable ring so that students know what voice level they are on.

Beat the Teacher is really a game that you can play for any behavior that your class is struggling with, but talking seems to be the main problem in my class that we need to work on every year. In Beat the Teacher, students play against the teacher to earn points. For every lesson, we start a new round. If students earn more points than the teacher, they win that round and earn an X in the Beat the Teacher chart towards the reward they are working toward. I used this free pack from Collaborating in Kinder this past school year. I just used tallies for Student and Teacher on the board. When students won, they got an X in the first square. Once they filled up the first row, they earned the first reward on the reward chart. The reward chart is editable and I do recommend letting students help you come up with ideas to add to the chart. I tried to make the chart go from small to large. We ended at number five on a Movie Party. You can download this freebie HERE

I just discovered the idea of the Chit Chat Chart on Pinterest this week while I was researching ideas for this blog post. I am excited about trying this one out! I have seen a couple of different variations, but basically students each get three cards or pieces next to their name on a chart. When they talk during class, they lose a piece. If they have a piece left at the end of the week, they receive a treat or special note home. You can decide how you want to do this. You could also do this daily. If students have all three pieces at the end of the day, they get a special treat like lunch with a friend. If they have two left, a piece of candy, and one left they get a reminder note home that says something about how they need to work on their talking. If they have none left, you decide the consequence. You can adapt this however you see fit for your classroom. 

Quiet Manager was another favorite of my students last year. All you need is a sand timer. I recommend having one between 3-5 minutes. You would want to use this strategy during independent work time. I usually use it while I am working with small groups. It helps me not have to worry about keeping tabs on who is talking and the students LOVE the responsibility of being the teacher! You choose a student to hold the sand timer and walk around. Their job is to look for students who may be talking. If a student is talking, they write their name on a whiteboard they carry around and immediately show it to me. I usually don't say anything to the student right then. If it is the same student that continues to talk, then we have a discussion after. Also, students who are talking cannot become the Quiet Manager. When a students sand timer runs out, they are asked to choose a new student who has been working quietly to become the new quiet manager. Students love this and ask me to do it every day! 

Last year, the wireless doorbell hit Instagram and I had to have one. I bought one on Amazon Prime and I love it. Mine has 50 different ring tones and songs. You can us them for getting students attention. When students are too chatty, I ring the bell to get their attention to quiet them down. We practice this at the beginning of the year so they know when the doorbell chimes, they immediately quiet down and get ready to listen. Some tones are longer than others and I try to change it up frequently so students don't get bored with one. 

The last strategy I want to share today is kind of a no brainer. I think it is just so important for us as teachers to give students many opportunities to talk and share their learning as much as possible. When students come in each morning, I think we need to consider ditching that traditional morning work and allowing them time to do something like STEM bins and have time to socialize. Their brains are going to be busy all day with learning, so that morning time should be relaxed and stress free. I purchased Booke's Stem Bins last year and planning on implementing these this school year. You can purchase them in her TPT shop HERE.

Additionally, doing collaborative activities like gallery walks and group projects during the day is a great way to allow students opportunities to talk and share. I love using the turn and talk in my classroom as well. Getting students to share their thinking is not only a great way to let students talk, but it's an awesome way to have students share their knowledge with others. Your lower students will be able to gain so much from your higher students through turn and talks and collaborative activities. 

I partner my students in different ways to make sure they are getting the most out of their group and partner work. You can see my examples below. 

My PB&J partners are on level partners, the Cookie and Milk Partners are High-Low, and My Happy Meal Groups are High-Medium-Low. 

You can download this freebie HERE.

I hope you were able to take away at least one new strategy to tame those talkers this year! I will be back next week to share Part 2 in the Classroom Management Series on dealing with blurters. They are a special kind of talker! 

Don't forget to check out other posts in the series: {NOTE: They will not be linked and live until they have been posted in the coming weeks.}

What is your favorite strategy for taming those talkers? Please share in the comments!