What's your policy for talking/independent work?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by waterfall, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Aug 16, 2012

    Do you have the kids be 100% silent if they're doing independent work? I'm not talking about a test, where obviously it would be silent- but maybe a math practice sheet or something. Or do you think it is okay for them to ask their neighbor something, give someone a pencil, etc. as long as they are on task and the general noise level is low?

    I'm kind of having a hard time with this in my classroom. I have almost all ELL students so we do a lot of "turn and talks" and partner work, but of course I need them to work independently sometimes so I can assess their individual ability. They're not being loud or off task at all, but the room isn't generally 100% silent and I'm wondering if I should be making sure it is. Many of them will turn to the person next to them and clarify something in spanish (I know spanish, so I know they're talking about the assignment) and I haven't caught anyone giving answers or copying or anything like that. Many of them also sort of murmur the words out loud when they're reading something. Thinking about next week when we're expected to start guided groups (meaning kids will be expected to be working on something while I'm working with other kids and not right there with them), I'm wondering if this is something I should really crack down on or thinking of "choosing your battles" if it's something I shouldn't worry about.

    Normally I wouldn't worry that much about it, knowing the students are on task, but my new P is ALL about behavior. She thinks the instruction is already high-quality and that if we can crack down on behaviors the test scores will go up. This is kind of stressful to me because instruction, differentation, etc. is really my strength- I'm not a behavior person at all. Other than one student who is on an IEP for severe behavior (so obviously she has issues) and I'm working closely with the sped team for, I don't really have any other behavior concerns.
     
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  3. perplexed

    perplexed Comrade

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    Aug 16, 2012

    Hmmmm....it's a hard decision because if they're just asking their neighbor a question quietly, that's way different than just having a conversation unrelated to the task. I would maybe make an anchor chart with the class of what independent time looks like/sounds like so they know what the expectations are and why. I guess if you're doing guided work, you'd need them to work pretty quietly. Maybe a voice level chart could be good too, just maybe whisper talking related to the task.
     
  4. stampin'teacher

    stampin'teacher Cohort

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    Aug 16, 2012

    As long as it's all on task and not loud to the point of disruptive where other students can't think, I think asking neighbors for clarification and thinking aloud are awesome strategies to use!

    However, if you're worried about what happens during guided groups, couldn't you explain that to them? Point out that you really appreciate the strategies they're using, but during guided groups we need to have X level of noise for XYZ reasons.
     
  5. stampin'teacher

    stampin'teacher Cohort

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    I like perplexed's voice chart idea too. You can even have them model and practice what the different levels are and what they sound like in the classroom.
     
  6. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    I tell the children the expectation for when it is silent work. If I do not say silent work or a whole class lesson time I expect the students to work with each other and ask their neighbor before coming to me for assistance. I use a voice chart. It is a stop light that I made from construction paper where red is silent, yellow is quiet/whisper voices, and green is table level voices. If I need it really quiet I put the clothes pin on the yellow right next to the red.
     
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Aug 16, 2012

    I think the chart is a good idea...also, when I'm doing guided groups I don't want kids that are doing other tasks coming up and asking me questions, so now that I think about it, it really doesn't make sense for me to say that I need it to be 100% silent and they can only raise their hand to ask me a question (since next week, I won't just be standing there available to answer their questions). I just didn't know what the norm was. With the HUGE focus on behavior I didn't want my P or AP to walk in and freak out b/c there was talking. I wish I could observe other people's rooms!
     
  8. Geauxtee

    Geauxtee Comrade

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    Aug 16, 2012

    It depends. If they are doing math/reading/grammar, I'll have them do silent work. If they are doing some some like a word search, puzzle or copying spelling words, I usually let them talk to those around them.
     
  9. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Aug 16, 2012

    I let my kids work and talk together most of the time. I find that they enjoy the interaction, and it helps them with their fluency. In some cases I do not allow them to talk, such as math warm ups, etc. It depends on what they are doing, but I definitely would not expect 100% silence all the time.
     
  10. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Aug 16, 2012

    Zero for formal assessments, independent reading time, and writing time. Other tasks are more open to a more "relaxed" environment...yet no one would ever read that as "unstructured" or as a behavior issue walking into the room. Just be clear about your expectations. :)
     
  11. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Aug 17, 2012

    I try to have them talking and collaborating as much as possible. As long as they are on task, conversations are great!
     

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