HELP!! 8th Grade talkers!

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by dkjackson, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. dkjackson

    dkjackson Companion

    Jun 9, 2009
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    Sep 21, 2010

    This is my first year teaching, and my subbing experience was largely with high school juniors. So 8th grade has been quite the ride these first four and a half weeks. And here we are, darn near through the first six weeks, and I'm still having unbelievable difficulties with the talking. This is really the only behavior issue I'm having. I don't have any students who are openly defiant, and the students are participating. However, they talk over one another, and they talk over me. And I'm exhausted after just my first hour-and-fifteen-minute block, and still have the whole rest of the day to get through! These students are really good students, they just can't seem to get the talking under control.

    And my principal has noticed since day one. She even left some notices about classroom management seminars in my box today that I'm pretty sure no one else, at least in my department, received. And I'm really starting to feel like a failure because it seems like every conversation I have with anyone at school is about how the management is going. I hate living in survival mode, and last year when I was doing a LS assignment, I thoroughly enjoyed waking up every day. Now I dread going in to work.

    I've tried lunch detention after a warning. They received "get out of lunch detention free" tickets when they entered the room, if I took it up, that was their warning. If they chose to continue the behavior, they received lunch detention. These students don't seem deterred by lunch detention, the same ones keep getting it and don't seem to care. So last week, my co-teacher brought in some candy, and we handed it out to students on task. Worked for a while, but as we started handing it out, the candy became a disruption. It did work well for getting more participation with one of my classes, though. Today, I introduced a "Lunch and a Movie" reward, where students sign up for the drawing if they believe they have been a model student. I also have tickets to give to students asking them to sign up, and I reserve the right to remove anyone from the list if their behavior takes a turn for the worse. Everyone seemed excited about it, but then apparently forgot about it once the lessons began, and no matter how much I reminded them about it, the talking continued.

    I'm sorry this has turned into an essay, and if you've made it this far, bless you! Ultimately, I would just love some suggestions for dealing with talkative middle schoolers, things you've had work for you that I could implement with relative ease nearly five weeks into school.

    Thank you so much!
  3. scooter503

    scooter503 Comrade

    May 27, 2008
    Likes Received:

    Sep 23, 2010

    Sorry I don't have advice - just wanted you to know I have a somewhat similar situation. Luckily, some of my classes are fabulous...its really just two or three that are causing me problems. This is my first year in middle school as well (but not first over all). My principal has talked to me about it. He wants me to not allow any blurting, I just have to figure out how to make it stop. Hopefully some of the experienced ones on here can offer us some advice.
  4. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

    Dec 24, 2007
    Likes Received:

    Sep 23, 2010

    Kids talk, call out, not take turns, not raise hand etc. because they know they can. Why is it kids will talk in one class and not in another? If you think back to your own schooling I'm sure you remember some classes that were sort of free-for-alls and others where the teacher meant business and the same kids who mauled the previous teacher acted like college prep students.

    I would not classify these kids as "good students". They may be book smart but if one were to ask what a good student is like - not a bad idea to brainstorm - most would agree raising hand, taking turns, waiting to be called on are attributes of a good student.

    When things start to fall apart it can almost always be traced back to a lack of structure. If the teacher wants kids to not call-out etc. - a typical rule in most well-managed classrooms - then this rule must be "taught" as carefully as any academic lesson. I already know what you are thinking -- These are eighth-graders. Surely they know how to take turns and raise their hand by now. And, besides, going over rules is baby stuff. I don't have the time. There is too much to teach to spend time on rules the kids should know by now--.

    The kids already know how to raise hand, take turns, not call-out etc. These are not issues. The issue is "What do we have to do in YOUR class?" Consider: If you are not prepared to terminate instruction each and every time a student breaks a rule (like calling-out) you have just taught the class your rules are hot air. Do not wait for students to talk or call-out then try to put the lid on. That's reactionary management. Begin the lesson by teaching your rules regarding talking, calling-out - from modeling, input, guided practice, checking for understanding, independent practice etc. - with the emphasis and importance of an academic structured lesson. You are not teaching anything new. What you are teaching are your priorities and your commitment. In this case, discipline always comes before instruction. This is what students read - not your rules, they already know them, have since kindergarten - rather how serious are you about them? Research backs this up. Teachers who rush through R&Rs the first weeks of school end up chasing after students trying to establish structure on a daily basis until June.
  5. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

    Jan 11, 2008
    Likes Received:

    Sep 25, 2010

    You should definitely check into Whole Brain Teaching. If has the classroom management and teaching techniques that will address the problems you are having. If you look into it, it is all free by the way, let me know and I can help you get started.

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