Are you ready to pull your hair out because your kids WON'T. STOP. TALKING? You are not alone. I've got 10 ideas to help you.
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1. Code Word of the Day
You might have seen me talk about this strategy here. It also works for chatty classes! Here's how it works:
1. Tell your students the secret word. It can be a random word, a sight word, a vocabulary word, etc.
2. Tell the students they need to listen for that secret word.
3. In the middle of a lesson, during a read aloud, at the end of the directions, etc., randomly insert the word into your sentence.
4. When they hear the word, they raise their hand and you can call on a student to tell you.
The student (or the class) can earn a small reward: a sticker, their name on the WOW Board, picking their center, etc. They will be hanging on your words trying to listen for the code word. If their friends are trying to talk to them, they will most likely ignore them because they want to hear the word.
2. 5-Finger Strategy
When you are beginning to give directions, hold your hand with 5 fingers extended up against your chest. Each student mimics you. As you are speaking, if someone shouts out or interrupts you, put a finger down. The number of fingers still up after you're through giving directions determines what kind of reward the class gets. For example, if all 5 fingers are up, the students get 2 minutes to chat before the activity. If only 3 or 4 fingers are up, the students only get 1 minute. If they have only 1 or 2 fingers up they don't earn any reward. If they lost all 5 fingers, they owe you 1-2 minutes of recess.
3. Teacher vs. Student (Whole Brain Teaching)
This game is part of the Whole Brain Teaching method that I adore. Essentially, you are setting up a competition for students to compete against the teacher.
"When your class is doing a good job, following classroom rules, treating each other with respect, performing transitions quickly, staying focused on tasks, mark a positive tally. Kids clap their hands, a One Second Party, and exclaim, “Oh, yeah!” When students are off task, behaving rudely, breaking class rules, mark a negative tally. Your students quickly lift their shoulders and utter a Mighty Groan."
The points should stay fairly close to one another so students don't get discouraged. At the end of the day (or other set time period) if the students have more tallies, they earn a small reward: one minute of free time, one minute extra recess, etc. If the teacher has more points, the students either don't earn the reward (i.e. they don't get the free time.)
Read more here.
Letting your students know exactly what level of noise is expected and appropriate before they begin a task can really help cut down on the talking. These voice posters work for all situations and are editable. They also come in Spanish to meet your classroom needs.
5. Please Stop What You Are Doing
If a student is talking, you can quietly walk over to them and place this on their desk. It's a private reminder that they need to quit talking and make a better choice.
6. Quiet Spray
Quiet Spray works really well in younger grades. Here's how it works:
1. Take a clean, empty, spray bottle and fill it with water. You can also add a few drops of a calming essential oil like lavender if you don't have any sensitivity issues inside your room.
2. Whenever the class is getting loud, take the spray bottle and finally mist it around the room. Tell your students that they obviously need help being quiet and that this magical spray can help them.
The kids will love having this "magical" spray help them be quiet.
7. Blurt Alert
Help your students from shouting out by using Blurt Alerts. Give each student 5 linking cubes (one for each letter in "blurt"). Whenever they shout out of turn, they lose a cube. If they lose all 5 cubes they get a Blurt Alert! If they keep their cubes they earn a Blurt Free card and small reward!
8. Noise Level Signs
Start each day with the NOISE letters on the board. If the class gets too loud, remove a letter. If they get down to only the "N", the class owes you 1 minute of recess or from another block of time. If they lose all the letters, the class owes you 5 minutes of recess or from another block of time. If they keep all or most of the letters, they can earn points toward a classroom reward!
9. Blurt Beans
Grab two identical clear containers. Place the Blurt Beans sign on one and mark off the other with pre-determined class rewards. Give each student a set number of beans each day (I recommend 3-5). If they blurt out or interrupt you while you are talking, they need to put one of their beans in the Blurt Beans jar. At the end of the day, all remaining student beans get placed in the reward container. When the level of beans reaches one of the tape marks, the class has earned their reward! I used pinto beans.
10. Brain Breaks
Are they stilllllllllll talking? If you've tried everything else, try giving them a few extra brain breaks throughout the day. Letting your kids get up and move can really help cut down on talking and noise. With recess time being cut back every year, extra breaks inside the classroom can really help your students get their extra energy out. You can also give them a set time to talk during the day. Give them 3-5 minutes before or after and activity to just chat about whatever they want. That can help with talking during their work time.
PEACE, LOVE, AND STICKY NOTES