Stop talking!!!!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Bella2010, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Nov 3, 2011

    Hi All,

    This is, by far, the most chatty group I've had. Granted, this is just my fifth year, but still. I've tried TONS of things, but nothing has worked.

    I've tried:

    Starting the class with 15 minutes of free time on Monday and taking away a minute each time I have to quiet them down. The longest they gone without running out of minutes was a Wednesday.

    Randomly giving students who are doing what they're supposed to be doing bonus points, a homework pass, etc.

    Missing recess

    Missing P.E.

    Extra homework (I know, but I'm desperate) :unsure:

    Writing Sentences (Again, I know, but as I mentioned, I'm desperate)

    Staying after class

    Calling parents

    Assigning seats

    When I give them "if, then" statements like, "if you choose to talk again, then you'll miss recess," they tell me they don't care. I walk around after I teach a lesson to try and squash talking before it starts, but it's like there are so many "talking" fires to put out I can't be everywhere I need to be. It seems like everytime I turn my back they start talking and it just snowballs. I just stand up there and wait for them to be quiet, and they've gone as long as five minutes!!!

    I have no idea what to do. I'm at the end of my rope. I dread seeing this group come in the door. They're like this with every teacher, EVERYWHERE they go - computer lab, study hall, music, P.E.

    HELP!!!

    Beth
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 3, 2011

    Sorry, Beth, I don't have a clue.

    But are you allowed to keep them from PE??? Isn't it another teacher's class?? And a state-mandated one at that??
     
  4. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Nov 3, 2011

    Some teachers keep kids in during P.E. to finish work, but IDK for sure about being allowed. I'll have to check tomorrow.

    Beth
     
  5. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Nov 3, 2011

    I don't have any advice, because my class is very chatty, as well. It seems like many teachers have this problem. At least at my school.
     
  6. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Nov 3, 2011

    I sure don't have THE solution to this incredibly challenging problem. I do have something that my colleagues and I tried once when the students got really bad behaviorally when we taught 7th grade. We didn't let the students switch classes. Instead the teachers switched from classroom to classroom. Our classrooms were really close together, so that was possible. The students were a bit shocked that we would go to that degree, and they didn't like it. We did it for a week or so, but I'd be ready to go longer if need be. It did help some. It worked though because we really had a close group of teachers that all agreed on this idea.
     
  7. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Nov 3, 2011

    First of all, you said,
    Aren't you kind of setting them up for failure? I mean, they are a bunch of preteens and at this age, socializing is super important to them. So, if you automatically start the day with a free time, then of course you're setting up for a tough day.

    You need a set routine and procedures that begins as soon as they enter the door. Your instructions need to always be on the board, in the same location.

    And what you CAN do is implement P.A.T. by Fred Jones. I did this when I taught fifth and worked WONDERFULLY!!!! Google it. Bascially, they earn minutes for a fun activity time (NOT free time; it could be a fun game, an art project, etc)
     
  8. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    And what you CAN do is implement P.A.T. by Fred Jones. I did this when I taught fifth and worked WONDERFULLY!!!! Google it. Bascially, they earn minutes for a fun activity time (NOT free time; it could be a fun game, an art project,
    :thumb::thumb:
     
  9. isabunny

    isabunny Comrade

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    Nov 4, 2011

    Maybe you can turn this "problem" into a "positive." What subject do you teach? Do you always have work for the students to get busy with when entering the classroom? Essential questions, sponge activities or any other small starting assignment? Free Time or Talking Time before class starts is probably not a great idea. Always best for students to know what is expected when they walk in the door and get busy on it right away.

    Do you do any group work or activities. If you have a chatty class maybe some group projects might let this group use their talking for discussions and helping each other with activities.
     
  10. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Nov 4, 2011

    I'm pretty sure the OP meant she starts the week by saying they'll have 15 minutes for free time at the end of the week, but they lose part of that time if they waste time during the week.
     
  11. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Nov 4, 2011

    Yeah, this is what I meant. I put 15 minutes on the board on Monday and whatever minutes they have left on Friday will be free time at the end of class.

    I completely rearranged my seating today, and it seemed to help some. SOME.

    They are *supposed* to come in and start reading their books. Last year, the kids had to come in and write in their journals. Our new P doesn't think journal writing "is all it's cracked up to be," so he doesn't want us doing it. :rolleyes: I try group things, even individual projects, but it's like anything out of the norm throws them for a loop, and their behavior reflects it. They get louder and louder when they are working in a group, regardless of me patroling the room. The last two projects have gone from group to individual because of their behavior. Geez, IDK.

    Beth
     
  12. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    Nov 4, 2011

    When they do group projects, are they talking about the project? Or other stuff?
     
  13. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Nov 4, 2011

    Waiting five days for a reward is difficult for the best of students. Rewards or activities like PAT should be doled out depending on the "maturity" of students not age. When implementing a work-for-reward program it is better to err on side of too frequent then back off. With PAT the first "activity" is given immediately after explaining the program - no wait. Some primary teachers have PAT every hour or sooner.

    Silent reading is tough to monitor. Confident readers tend to read while low enders flip pages and give illusion of reading. These students generally fall off task quickly and find something else to do - like talk to a neighbor. Consider a more hands-on bell work activity where students are moving pencils (pens, crayons?) which can be observed more readily. There are lots of sponge learning related worksheets which can be a routine in addition to DOL and 2-Problem Approach.

    I observed a highly regarded mentor teacher while back. Her reputation was ability to direct collaborative groups. From the doorway it certainly looked and sounded like students were engaged and sharing ideas. "Buzz of learning" is what she called it. As I got closer and took notes only one in four students was actually working on the assignment.

    Consider: Before putting kids in groups classroom structure needs to be in place. If not, one may wear out a pair of good shoes running around trying to put out all the fires.
     
  14. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Nov 5, 2011

    Seems to be a mix. When we do group activities, I try to assign groups where there is a good mix of on-task kids and ones who have a more difficult time with staying focused.

    I thought I had a pretty structured and procedure driven classroom. Apparently not or I don't think I'd have these issues. My other classes flow smoothly, so IDK.

    I like the idea of a bell ringer involving paper and pencil. Like I said, last year journal writing as a bell ringer worked pretty good. But, since our P doesn't like it, well...

    This is how I sometimes feel - :dizzy: :dizzy:

    Thanks for all the advice!!

    Beth
     
  15. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Nov 5, 2011

    The famous math teacher who they made a movie of called "Stand and Deliver" had the same problem you did when he first started teaching in East LA. A colleague gave him an idea that he claimed made all the difference. He started EVERY class with a 10 minute quiz. Any talking during the test resulted in a consequence.

    Another idea--antecepatory sets are awesome! Start the class by opening an envelope that has something special written on it (you have to decide what this is, but you can create a week's worth within 20 minutes of prep time once you get the hang of it.) When you are opening an envelope curiousity will make them focus on what is in the envelope. Curiousity is a highly powerful motivator.

    If you can start the first 10 minutes well, that is over half the battle.

    Good luck! :)
     
  16. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Nov 5, 2011

    This, mixing high and low, is what most recommend and seems like the way to go -- the strong kids will pull along the weak ones etc. When I did this I found myself sprinting to each group trying to settle in-fighting and off task. The sharp kids were resentful having to slow down and the low kids felt intimidated. To deflect lack of skill the low kids would often do other things like goof off.

    I experimented with putting all the problem kids in one group and the workers in other groups. What a difference! One would think all problems together is recipe for disaster. Not true in my experience. The low kids worked longer, harder and got along far better. I think it was due to not feeling unable to contribute in other set-up. The top groups worked better too - able to take off on assignments. In terms of management, it was easier too. I knew which group I was going to spend most of my time versus circling the room. In fact, being able to provide more direction to one group versus bouncing around brought the low group almost up to par with the other groups.
     
  17. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Nov 5, 2011

    The only thing I can say is blitz them with work. Over prep and have work they can do when they finish something. Lots of extra work to keep the momentum going.

    I have a LOUD CLASS this year -very loveable, fun, funny, bright, and interesting. But LOUD. My ears ring at the end of the day, really. I have a headache every day and so do some of the students. The one and only thing that helps is if I keep them working every second they are in the classroom. If they are busy, they don't have time to talk much.
     
  18. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Nov 6, 2011

    Here are some questions you need to ask:

    1. Is the talking during independent work time, teacher-directed instruction, or both? If it's the latter, the issue isn't talking but the rudeness of interrupting and should not be tolerated.

    If it's the former, then you have to ask whether or not it affects them getting their work done. Talking and off task are really two different things.

    2. If you are expecting silence during independent work times, what is your reason for that? Two legitimate reasons are to curtail the sharing of answers and because some students really need a quite classroom to concentrate.

    3. What is your "quiet signal" and how well do the kids respond to it. If you have an effective quiet signal that can draw them back when they are talking, then it can be less of an issue if the class is not 100% silent.

    The big problem with talking in class is that its not something that we can ever prohibit all the time like fighting or smoking. We must let the kids talk sometimes but not others. And we often differentiate between "good talking" like during a group project and "bad talking" or unauthorized socialization. Sometimes talking is very disrespectful, like during a teacher directed lesson. Other times it's a safety issue, like during a fire or lockdown drill. But much of the time, we're hard pressed to convince the kids exactly why we demand that they be silent.

    The other thing is that "talking in class" is the school equivalent to an adult who lets the parking meter expire and gets a ticket. Yes, you broke the law, but you are not a criminal by any means. I know many moral, upstanding law abiding citizens who constantly get parking tickets. As long as they pay those tickets, they are still considered moral, upstanding law abiding citizens.

    And I've known a lot of really good students who have been constant talkers. It's very important that any classroom management tool you use to curtail talking does not lump these kids in with the same kids who get in fights or graffiti the restrooms. If that happens, then you will find yourself being very inconsistent with enforcement or causing some very good kids some undeserved grief.

    So here are a few solutions

    So let's assume that for whatever reason you want the class to be totally, completely silent. Maybe it's a test, maybe they are practicing a new skill or concept that requires concentration. I once imposed complete silence because one little girl in the class had a really bad headache.

    What you need is a very minor consequence that costs you nothing emotionally or materially, that is completely extrinsic, immediate, tangible, and cumulative. Most important, the consequence needs to be so minor that you would lose zero sleep if you had to give it to your best, most well behaved student, because she whispered to her neighbor if she could borrow a crayon. It needs to be a something that you can do 100% of the time, without giving any warnings.

    Now, such a consequence is hard to find. If we could charge kids a penny every time a noise came out of their mouths it would be perfect.

    What I did when I taught secondary was kept kids after class one minute. They still had time to get to their next class, but they just had to walk a little faster. When I taught sixth grade, I kept a clipboard with names and spaces for check marks. Every time a student talked, they got a check mark. Then at lunch and dismissal I lined them up according to how many check marks they had. That made it sort of a competition. But it worked. The best thing was that if that one "perfect kid" in the class made the mistake of not raising their hand or asking a neighbor a question, it wasn't the end of their world if they had to be second in line at lunch instead of first.

    The next thing you have to do is avoid having conversations across the room with students. Here is the wrong way to do it:

    BILLY: Raises hand
    TEACHER: Yes, Billy?
    BILLY: I don't understand the instructions for page 38?
    MARY: I know how you do it. It's easy ....

    The problem here is that Billy has been made to announce his business to the whole class. That raises the temptation for other students to join in the conversation. If you have told the class they are not allowed to talk, then Mary, who was just trying to be helpful, must receive a consequence. Now the right way to do it:

    BILLY: (Raises hand)
    TEACHER: Billy, come here.
    BILLY: (approaches desk)
    TEACHER: Yes, Billy, what can I do for you?
    BILLY: Well, I don't understand the instructions on page 38.

    Because your conversation with Billy has taken place away from the class in relative quiet, Mary feels no great temptation to join in the conversation.
     

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