Challenging Chatty Class. Need Advice!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by englishteach7, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. englishteach7

    englishteach7 Companion

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    Sep 23, 2012

    I teach 7th grade English and I'm having a rough time with my homeroom/1st period and 2nd period class. They are my largest class (26) and they will not be quiet. I am constantly having to stop class to keep them on track because of the talking. I have moved students numerous times in the seating chart. My seating arrangement is groups and I'm seriously thinking about changing it back to a horseshoe. There seemed to be way less chatter when it was like that. Also, I always have students forget their book(s)/materials when I have what they need posted on the door every day. It is so frustrating! Transition times between activities is way too long because I have so much chatter and students take so long to get their books/planner out. I am currently doing reteaching of classroom procedures during lunch for the ones who are being particularly talkative. They come down and eat in my classroom and practice these procedures. It doesn't seem to be helping though because I am still having a rough time. Should I bring the whole class down to practice? I need some advice. I am at the end of my rope. Thanks in advance for your advice.
     
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  3. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    No, I wouldn't bring the whole class down---the ones who are following procedures will likely hate you for it, and potentially rebel. Definitely get them out of groups. I don't even know about the horseshoe---I'd get them into rows and keep the offenders as far away from each other as possible, and as close to you as possible.

    I have two kids in my one of my classes who start all of the chatting. So I just pretty much teach standing right next to those two kids...the proximity gets them. The only hard part is going to the board to explain a problem, but it is still a good strategy for when they're working on problems.
     
  4. englishteach7

    englishteach7 Companion

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    Thanks for your advice, Mathematician. The only thing about the groups is my principals love group work and think highly of it. That's why I didn't want to change unless I absolutely had to. Plus my last two, higher level classes are great in their groups. It's a tough decision.
     
  5. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Sep 23, 2012

    I had a similar issue once. I put all of the chatty kids in one group (had two leftovers but it worked out ok) and reamed them hard when they started to get off topic.

    I did the same when I had a bunch of kids that were lazy and refused to work. No sense in having them bring everyone else down.

    It worked well. But I only did it a few times in order to make my point. I think it would have backfired if I did it all year.
     
  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 23, 2012

    Ok, this might sound elementary for 7th graders, but I know some teachers still use this in middle school.
    Table points :) since you have them in groups, you can reward them per group, and they can have the reward on Friday as PAT. They can earn a certain amount of minutes. On Friday the ones who didn't earn enough will work while the other ones are enjoying their PAT.

    Pros: the kids will probably buy into, if not at first, probably by the 2nd week. They will end up managing their own group and you won't have that many problems. If some kids misbehave where it is not acceptable, you can still assign their individual consequences, but you will probably only have a few, and not half of the class.

    Cons: this can be a lot of extra work for you to keep track (keep track on the board). And you have to be consistent. I myself don't like it, but you never know it could work.

    We used this with our newcomer immigrant 6-8 graders who were just absolutely loud, chatty and talkative (imagine a class that doesn't care, talks amongst themselves in Arabic, and then a few of them say insulting things to Arabic to each other which upsets others, and you have no clue what's happening because it's in a foreign language). Table points worked.
    Also in the juvenile detention, one teacher uses this, they're 7-10 graders, very immature, but this works.
     
  7. englishteach7

    englishteach7 Companion

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    Sep 23, 2012

    I may try table points. That sounds like a great idea. It will be a lot of work though.
     
  8. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    No reason why you can't put them in groups when it's time for group work. I just have them move the desks into fours when it's time for group work.
     
  9. McParadigm

    McParadigm Companion

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    The degree to which students feel invested in a classroom can serve to redefine how they approach it. Come up with a few possible changes that you think might affect the issue, give them a handout summarizing the options, and let them vote. I would even suggest setting aside ten minutes prior to the vote to let people get up and advocate for their preference.
     
  10. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Sep 23, 2012

    When I taught 7th, I shared a room with a 6th grade teacher who had the desks in groups. The 7th graders couldn't function with that degree of eye contact, so I had them move the tables into rows. They could do it within a minute.

    Take a look at Whole Brain Teaching. I use the class/yes with high school seniors, and I've got a Scoreboard ready if I need it.
     
  11. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Sep 23, 2012

    Keep stopping instruction immediately, including when you're across the room and helping someone. Do it consistently.

    You may have to back up your proximity with consequences. Keep them in a few minutes after class to practice procedures or clean up.

    The more immediate the consequence the better.

    As for materials, if they forget materials, have them call home and tell their parent that they were unprepared for class today, and to ask them to remind them that they should bring their materials the next day.
     
  12. Mdsilva

    Mdsilva New Member

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    Sep 27, 2012

    I am having the same exact issue with my 7th graders. It does not where I move these kids because they are ALL social with each other. I know I shouldn't take it personal but some days I do. I like the idea of table points. I teach in History to these kids so I am all for ideas as well on how to keep them focused.
     
  13. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Sep 28, 2012

    There is a similar thread to read on the elementary page. Must be an overall problem LOL
     
  14. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Sep 28, 2012

    Some groups are chatty. This shouldn't be a problem unless it is affecting their learning (which in the OP it seems to be). At that point asking them why they are being so selfish as to stop others from learning has quite an impact. There is nothing more horrifying to 7th graders than being labeled selfish.

    Also, I'm sorry but 26 is your largest class?

    I hate my state so much.
     
  15. Kate N

    Kate N Rookie

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    Sep 28, 2012

    Remember that a classroom has a constantly changing environment. Bringing in one new student can shift the dynamic. Letting a trio of students disrupt the flow will also alter the feel of the group. It is never too late to have a class meeting in order to have the class be part of the solution. One great idea from the book is to involve and empower your students by asking them for input and help. This really works. I remember a very difficult group that completely turned around because of a timely discussion about what was working with the class rules and how they could be tweaked to better improve the environment. You are the teacher but the students are very your team in the classroom. If you are at wit’s end with your students you could revisit your classroom management plan. There is a quiz online at Altering Education if you want some more ideas.
     
  16. teachin4ever

    teachin4ever Cohort

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    Sep 28, 2012

    What are your consequences for disrupting the class?

    My students know that if they're talking when they shouldn't be, they get one warning. After that, they put their name in a behavior notebook. If their name gets in there twice in a quarter, parents are contacted. Three times is a detention. Four times, and a parent/teacher/student/principal conference is held. It might help to remind the students what the consequences are for being disruptive and hold them to it. Once they know you mean business, I guarantee the talking will stop.

    As for not coming prepared, I tell my students that if they don't have their materials, they can go to their locker to get it but I mark them tardy. Three tardies is a detention. I rarely have students come to class unprepared.
     

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