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!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for this! This August I'll start my 21st year of teaching, and I find that every year I still have more to learn about managing a classroom. I appreciate all of the research and time you've put into creating this blog series. Thanks again!
    Laughter and Consistency


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